By Godfrey Bivbere
THE Nigerian Quarantine Service, NQS, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, the National Environmental Standards, Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, the Marine Police, and other government agencies have been accused of turning the nation’s seaports into detention centers.
Speaking at an online platform, Harboursandport, the leader of the Western Zone of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, John Ofobike, said that with the Lagos ports overflowing with overtime cargoes, the activities of these agencies are further compounding the space constraint.
He pointed out that despite the Federal Government order barring most of these agencies from operating within the port; they have all worked their way back and are causing problems.
He said the marine police that has nothing to do with cargo clearance is now fully involved, in some cases getting hold of ship manifest and placing about 150 containers brought by the ship on hold.
He noted that the owners of each of such containers are made to report at the office at Molony where they are forced to ‘play ball’ before they are given clearance.
He further explained that should NESREA put the release of any container on hold, the owner of such consignments and his/her agent would be directed to Abuja to process the clearance. Most of the time, the clearance is gotten once the importer does the needed.
He stressed that it is unfortunate that most people blame Customs for delays of cargo clearance at the ports, noting that all compliant goods are cleared by Customs within 24 hours.