Importers turn Nigeria as dumping ground for fairly used goods as Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority streamlines agencies at the port described as important to Customs operations
By Stephen Ubanna
Nigeria is gradually turning to a dumping ground for fairly goods from Europe, Asia and North America. They range from fairly used clothings, shoes, electronics, generators, fridges, tyres, books to vehicles. Many Nigerians based in Germany A visitor to Apapa, Tincan Island and Kirikiri Lighter terminal, KLT, Phase 1 and 2 would be surprised that half of the Containers examined daily are stocked with these fairly used items.
Many Nigerians based in Germany, United Kingdom, China, and United States had taken advantage of the Nigerian craze for fairly used goods and the profit margin to engage in importation. It is not surprising where the ports are litered with Containers of fairly used goods.
Investigation by the Magazine shows that most of these used items are Contrabands but had been allowed to enter into Nigeria markets . Insiders told the Magazine that there is hardly a day when one two ”40” Containers would not discharge such goods at any of the warehouses along the Oshodi -Apapa Expressway. Most of the importers are said to be on ground to sell their goods to would be Customers.
Given the importation of such goods , large market of fairly used goods have developed in these warehouses. Sources told the Magazine that people from different parts of the country visit these warehouss to do their shopping because of the relative cheap price. A German based importer told the Magazine that she brings in at least one ”40” Container every month because of the market.
But the Nigeria Customs Service , NCS, are no longer finding it funny with number of Container of fairly used goods being discharged at Nigeria ports weekly. It has given them opportunity to thoroughly scrutinize the vehicles loaded into the Containers . The effort as paid off.
Only recently, Yusuf Barshar, Comptroller ,Tincan Island Command’s men allegedly intercepted two SUV vehicles in one of the Containers discharged at the port.Uche Ejesieme, a Deputy Comptrolller and the image maker of the Command disclosed that the ”gold coloured Range Rover was intercepted arrival at the port.
Giving an insider information, Ejesieme disclosed that the interception was sequel to intelligence report from Interpol. He confirmed that the vehicles which were loaded in a ”40” Container No. UACN 548368/1 was imported from Washington DC, United States of America but the importer had declared it as Toyota Tundara and Chevrolet Cruiz with some bicycles.
The Tincan Island Command Image maker said Interpol report that two stolen vehicles from the USA had been shipped to Nigeria forced the NCS personnel at the Nigeria port of Tincan Island to place ”all Consignments from the USA to ensure that the expected Container is tracked”.
A n elated Ejesieme said the vessel carrying the Container was monitored from the port of loading to Tincan Island and was intercepted on arrival at the port. Appealing to Nigerians based abroad to desist from acts capable of bringing the country to disrepute, particularly in this era of Information Technology, he vowed that ”Customs will resist any attempt by any individual or Organization to use Nigeria as a conduit pipe for illicit transactions”. The two suspected stolen vehicles were handed over to Interpol on June 1, 2017 by Barshar, the Tincan Island Customs boss with the approval of Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Customs Comptroller General. In handing over the suspected stolen vehicles to Interpol, the Customs boss expressed the commitment of the NCS to partner and Bashar intelligence with all agencies both foreign and local in the spirit of agency collaboration and synergy.
It is expected that Interpol Nigeria will subject the vehicles to due intelligence investigation through the courts and will use their internal mechanisms for repatriation of the vehicles to the United States.
Insiders told the Magazine that the discovery of the suspected SUV Range Rovers has put fears on USA based fairly used goods importers who load vehicles in their ”40” Containers and their clearing agents. An agent who has an American based importer told the Magazine that ”I will no longer clear goods for American based importers. I don’t want to be a quest of the police or the Department of State Security Service, DSS”.
While the Customs has put a close tab on imported goods, Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, has ordered Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to leave the port. The NPA boss approved the continued operations of NCS, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigeria Police Force, DSS, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, NPA and Port Health.
Ali, the Customs boss who was at the meeting where the decision was taken said the rejected agencies would be invited to the port when their services are required. The Customs helmsman said the directive when implemented ”will reduce the clearing time and cost of doing business at the ports.
Agents with their importers had lodged several complaints to NPA over the existence of these numerous agencies and the implication of doing business at Nigeria ports. Their ager is the numerous agencies personnel involved in examining a Container at the port which easily be done by NCS and six other agencies which services are relevant at the port. They had made it clear to NPA that SON and NDLEA have no business having office at the port. An importer whose Container was examined last Wednesday was surprised at the number of agencies that participated in the examination and amount spent in settling them for doing nothing.