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Published On: Mon, May 12th, 2014

NCS warns arms importers to stay away from Apapa port

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Comptroller-General-of-the-Nigerian-Customs-Service-Alhaji-Abdullahi-DikkoThe Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Monday said it would not allow importation of arms through the sea port. The Comptroller of the Command, Eporwei Edike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the command’s system of examination of containers would not allow security lapses.

Edike said that a “certificate of examination’’ system was introduced to ensure that officers were identified with a particular responsibility when they undertake cargo examination.

The comptroller said that besides the certificate of examination, the customs intelligence unit did a lot of surveillance, making it difficult for unlawful infiltration of anything.

“Here, we do not joke with examination.

“Apart from the statutory documentation we do at the port, we also introduced a Certificate of Examination system to identify officers who have examined a consignment.

“An officer will fill all his information on the certificate to show that he undertook an examination and he will indicate if he saw any discrepancy during the exercise.

“They get constant reminders on the need for 100 per cent check and with our efforts and determination, no arms and ammunition will go through this port,’’ Edike said.

On the progress of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Edike said the command had recorded success, especially in April when it recorded high revenue.

“We generated an unprecedented N29.3 billion revenue in April alone, compared to the previous N19 billion in the same period in 2013.

“This is because a number of the agents have been coming to perfect their PAAR.

“They (agents) have also affirmed that PAAR means well for trade development.

“We seize this opportunity to appeal to importers on the need for sincere declaration to avoid delays,’’ the comptroller said.

Also speaking, Mr Malanta Yusuf, the Deputy Comptroller in charge of the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA), said efforts of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) had helped to make PAAR processing easier.

“We look at the declarations and do the profiling.

“Efficiency of the system is very key for fast-tracking right from here and the result is reflective in the overall service provision of the service,’’ Yusuf said.

NAN reports that some agents confirmed that there has been an improvement in the PAAR regime since December 2013.

Mr Eugene Nweke, President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), said the PAAR regime was able to address the local trade needs because it was a home-grown platform.

He also said that the PAAR system had been able to check corruption considerably.

“PAAR is customs’ design of a single window system and it has been able to address the issue of corruption,’’ Nweke said.

On his part, Mr John Oforbike, Coordinator, Western Zone of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), said PAAR had made it possible for agents to access useful information.

Oforbike said that the initial challenges that arose with the newly-introduced system had gradually phased out.

He urged all agents to take advantage of the information available on the trade hub site. (NAN)

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