By Godfrey Bivbere
A controversy is now brewing around the disappearance of about 19 containers of unknown items destined for a major Lagos based Bonded Terminal from Tin-can Island port from the port.
Vanguard Maritime Reports gathered that the missing consignments must have been “flown out” (moved) out of the port without official clearance by the approving authorities, namely, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the terminal operator, and others.
This is even as the NCS has said that they are not aware of the official release of the consignments, explaining that it is possible that the issue of alleged 19 missing may have been dealt with by the Customs management.
“Flying of container” is a term used for a container moved out of the port without payment of duty and approvals.
A Customs source at Tin-can Island Command told Vanguard that the missing containers are still in the Customs computer system.
But the National Coordinator of the “100 per cent Compliance Team” of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Ibrahim Tanko, said it is true that the 19 units of 40 foot containers were nowhere to be seen.
Speaking on the issue the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Uche Ejesieme, told Vanguard Maritime Report that the Service will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they get to the root of the matter.
According to him, “The freight forwarders who protested at the Bonded Terminal were wrong because they didn’t notify Tin Can Island Customs of their decision to protest. The issue did not just happen; it has been ongoing for several years.”
“All the bonded terminal’s facilities were closed on instructions from headquarters. Customs was able to extract some commitment from them to the extent of paying some of the charges into the government coffers before being allowed to commence operations.
“A few days ago, the National President of NAGAFF, Mr. Tony Esizi, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, and Alhaji Tanko visited the Customs Area Controller who directed that Customs rejigs the file.
He also directed the Enforcement Unit of the Command to make findings on the issue to know whether the Customs headquarters comprehen-sively dealt with the matter or whether there are some unresolved areas,” he concluded.