*Says, we don’t need their physical presence to release cargo.
12 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Less than a month after the National Food Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) got approval to return to the nation’s port and border posts, the Customs Area Controller in charge of Apapa Command; Comptroller Jibrin Musa has said that the Nigeria Customs Service does not require the presence of NAFDAC in the ports to conduct 100 percent examination of cargo and release same.
Recall that NAFDAC got government’s approval to return to all the nation’s entry points about three weeks ago to monitor the importation of sensitive chemical substances, food, drugs and other regulated products.
But Comptroller Musa expressed the Service’s displeasure when members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), led by A.M. Abubakar as well as officials from the Japanese government led by the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria and NAFDAC officials led by Director in charge of Ports Supervision paid him a courtesy visit.
Musa argued that provided the clearing agents have all the necessary documents including the certificate by NAFDAC for the importation of the NAFDAC-related consignments, Customs would release the cargo.
He assured the delegation of Customs’ collaboration and assistance in the area of interest while urging them to contact him on time in case they have any problem or any consignment of interest for quick action.
On the alleged clearance of NAFDAC-related consignments without inviting the agency’s officers for physical examination raised, the Controller said: “The mandate as enshrined in the Executive Order is, if the importer or the clearing agents have all the necessary documents including the certificate by NAFDAC for the importation of the NAFDAC-related consignments, on presentation of the certificate, we don’t need to wait for NAFDAC to come for physical examination”.
“Once they certify that the consignment is safe, we allow the consignment to be released. And most times, the agency sends their stoppage alerts after the goods must have been released, he said.
Reaffirming Customs position, the image maker of the Apapa Customs, Nkiru Nwala said that it is not all imports that require the presence of NAFDAC officials at the ports.
According to her, NAFDAC issues an alert to Customs if there is a questionable cargo being imported and the need for its officials to witness the examination.
She said “NAFDAC is the agency that is authorized as far as it is food and drugs, you must have their approval, that is why we have NAFDAC number on bottled water, so all drugs you are importing from abroad is supposed to have a NAFDAC number, there is a certificate behind that number, they (NAFDAC) issue the certificate and this is what you would present to Customs, it assures us that actually, you have NAFDAC approval”.
“If the cargo does not have NAFDAC number, we would connect the importer to NAFDAC”, she explained.
“If they (NAFDAC) have any concern about a particular import, they would notify and request that they would want to be part of the examination, but it is not every import that requires NAFDAC presence” she stated.