Nigeria’s compliance level to the implementation of the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code is now 79.3 per cent, the Minister of Transportation, Right Hon.Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said.
The present compliance level in the country on the implementation of the ISPS Code is a sharp contrast to the 9 per cent it recorded in 2013.
The poor performance of the country in the implementation of the ISPS Code which remains one of the key instruments put in place by the global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) compelled the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to threaten that ocean going vessels will no longer call in Nigerian ports until she complied with the provisions of the code.
Though Nigeria eventually escaped the hammer as then Federal Government led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan used several channels to make the United States Government to change its mind but stringent restrictions were placed on some jetties and terminals in the country.
In a statement obtained by THISDAY reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to maritime security through the full implementation of the ISPS Code, even as he appealed to the USCG to lift the sanctions it placed on some jetties and terminals which were found deficient two years ago in complying with the Code.
Amaechi was said to have made the commitment and appeal when he led a delegation to the headquarters of USCG in Washington DC.
He expressed government’s appreciation for the support of the USCG in implementing the ISPS code in Nigeria and assured the international shipping community that the country is committed to the full implementation of the code to safeguard the maritime domain.
He disclosed that since taking over the implementation of the ISPS code as the Designated Authority (DA) in Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has performed creditably well.
“Nigeria appreciates the efforts and support of the United States Government in encouraging a cordial bilateral relationship with Nigeria not only in the area of maritime security but also in other areas. I want to assure the US Coast Guard and indeed the international shipping community of Nigeria’s commitment to the full implementation of the ISPS code to further institute a strict security regime in our maritime environment”, he said.
He enjoined the US government to revisit the Condition of Entry (COE) earlier placed on vessels that have called some port facilities in Nigeria which were not compliant with the code saying that over 80 per cent of those facilities have since complied with the code and needed to be removed from the COE list.
Receiving the delegation, the Assistant Commandant of the USCG, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas expressed his country’s determination to continue to support Nigeria in its goal of full implementation of the ISPS code.
Thomas who oversees the USCG directorates of Inspection and Compliance as well as Marine Transport Systems commended Nigeria for its progress in the ISPS code implementation so far saying the visit to the US was aimed at exposing the delegation to some of the strategies adopted by America to successfully implement the code.
The visit which was at the invitation of the USCG is expected to serve as an exchange programme for the Nigerian delegation exposing them to the implementation strategies of the United States so as to replicate same in Nigeria.
Amaechi was accompanied on the visit by the Director, Maritime Safety and Security in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Danjuma Dauda, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside and Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Usman.
NCS Impounds N1.9 bn Contrabands, Records 231 Seizures in Zone C
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C, Owerri has recorded a total of 231 seizures of contraband goods with an overall duty paid value (DPV) of N1,957,529,375 in the third quarter of the year.
The record of the zone within the period under review differs significantly from the one it recorded in the same period in 2015. It is on record that it made 379 seizures with a DPV of N224, 245, 797 in the same period last year.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), NCS, FOU, Zone C, Comptroller Haruna Mamudu who disclosed this in a statement said N548, 700, 997 was recovered this year which amounted to an increase in the percentage of revenue generated by the NCS in contrast to the N105,207,807 underpayment recovered in the year 2015.
Signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the unit, Ifeoma O. Onuigbo, the statement quoted Haruna saying that no fewer than 22 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures which were impounded on the Benin axis, Asaba-Agbor-Onitsha Expressway, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri and Port-Harcourt axis of the South-south and South -East zones of the federation just as 16 cases are pending in court.
The CAC stressed that the feat was successfully accomplished as a result of the renewed determination of the Comptroller-General of NCS, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retired) to rid the country of all forms of illegal importation.
According to the statement, Haruna also enumerated the items impounded to include 121 vehicles; 3,082 bags of 50kg rice; 1,454 cartons /set of furniture; 5,120 pieces of used foreign tyres; 625 cartons of fake medicaments and 2,600 pieces of imported school bags.
Also seized were 63 containers of log of wood; 97 pieces of 14 -stroke engine generator; 30,181 cartons imported frozen poultry products; 1,148 bales of second hand clothing as well as 2, 331 cartons of foreign detergents and creams.
Others are 1,339 pairs of foot wears; 142 pieces of used refrigerators and compressors, 155 cartons of plastic and articles of plastics; 129 cartons of ceramics and articles of ceramics in addition to 803 bags of scrap metals.
The CAC who expressed concern at the continued indulgence of some Nigerians in the nefarious act of smuggling despite official stiff penalty for culprits arrested said that the NCS would remain resolute and undeterred in its efforts to stamp out the scourge in the country. He maintained that the NCS is always well equipped, mobilized and motivated to dislodge smugglers, their collaborators and agents where ever they hibernate.
He warned those still engage in smuggling to stop before the long arm of the law catches up with them, even as he renewed the appeal to members of the public with useful information about smugglers to always make such information available to his men or to other sister security agencies for necessary action.
He maintained that the service would ensure that the identity of such informers will never be disclosed to anybody.