29 August 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos —THE Maritime Command of the Nigeria Police Force has ordered the stoppage and interception of containers already cleared from Lagos ports.
Besides, stakeholders in the industry yesterday at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Nigeria Customs Services Seminar on Ethics & Integrity in International Trade held at Rock View Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, condemned the act of unlawful detention by various Commands of the Police, saying that “this is against the principle of trade facilitation”.
In a letter to the Customs Area Comptroller, CAC, Tin-Can Island Port, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Maritime, Pius Imue who shortly before passing on recently noted that there are numerous security agencies in the port who masquerade as officers and men of the Maritime Command to perpetuate untoward acts.
The letter dated June 17, 2017, and signed by Assistant Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Musa Katsina said that no request for the detention of any container cleared from the port should be entertained.
He said “This is to inform your office that the attention of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Maritime Command Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos has been drawn to the existence of an anomalous situation in the request to detain or release suspected containers from the seaports.
“Consequently, there are a plethora of security agencies and other Police formation who masquerade as officers and men of the Maritime Command to perpetuate untoward acts.
“It is pertinent to add that the Maritime Police Command was established to coordinate, supervise and secure the maritime sector rather than being an all comers sector as depicted by the current situation.
“In addition, one vital and persistent observation of the critical stakeholder in the Maritime Sector has been the plurality and establishment of the Maritime Police Command four years ago to coordinate and bring sanity to the system.
“Consequently, you are graciously requested to assist in finding a collective solution to the problem by promptly referring all such authority to detain\release suspected containers to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Maritime Command office for verification\authentication.
“Therefore, any purported letter of authority that requests the detention or the clearance\release of any suspected container that did not emanate from this office and signed by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police or the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Maritime Command is ab-initio null and void.
“It should be discountenanced as it will ensure accountability and assist in sanitizing the system.”