The Nigerian Police Force, Western Ports Command yesterday sounded the alarm over possible threat from the Islamic sect, Boko Haram to bomb Lagos, and possibly target the nation’s seaports in Apapa.
Commissioner of Police in charge of the Western Ports Command, Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison who stated this yesterday at the inauguration of the new executives of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Apapa, Lagos, said based on intelligence report it received three months ago, the deadly Islamic sect could be planning to bomb Lagos and possibly target the seaports.
“We are not taking the threat lightly at all and we encourage all stakeholders who visit the port to keep their eyes and ears open in case of the activity of the sect,” Ibifuro-Harisson who was represented by the Assistant Commissioner in charge of administration, Salem Machree said.
She said as part of measures put in place to check the threat, the Police has beefed up security within and around Lagos including the port environment.
She said the Police would remain alert and vigilant in ensuring that the violent sect does not hit the ports.
It would be recalled that at least four persons were confirmed dead when two explosions suspected to have emanated from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off near the Folawiyo Energy Depot along Creek Road, Apapa on June 25 this year.
Unconfirmed reports quoting witnesses at the scene of the explosion said the blast occurred after some persons suspected to be bombers set off the twin explosions.
In a video release in July, leader of the violent Islamic sect, Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the two explosions, according to Agence-France Presse reports.
Speaking at the same event, Area Controller, Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Compt. Charles Edike said the Service collected N950.1 billion as revenue into the federation account from January to November 2014. Edike said that the figure is 23.4 per cent higher than the N769.3 billion collected in the corresponding period of 2013.
He said in addition to the amount collected, the NCS also saved the country N36.9 billion collected under the one percent Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS), which would have been paid to the three former destination service providers.
Speaking on “The effect of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) on the Nigeria Economy”, Edike said notwithstanding initial teething problems, the NCS has been able to overcome the challenges experienced at the introduction of PAAR in December last year, as it has so far received and processed 201,330 requests out of which 188,424 were finally released and 108,169 uplifted with a total Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of N5.6 trillion.
He said the new clearance procedure has not only increased the revenue profile of the Service; it has helped in reducing cost and time of clearance of goods at the port, thus facilitating trade.
The Customs boss said the Service has gained the recognition of the World Customs Organization (WCO) as a result of the successes recorded by the development and introduction of PAAR.
He however noted that the biggest challenge of the new clearance procedure is lack of compliance to trade regulations by importers as a total of 14, 259 PAAR have so far been rejected.
He said the non-compliance of importers is the reason why some PAAR documents are queried.
“The biggest challenge is compliance. Your PAAR will not be queried so long as you are transparent and don’t cut corners. But when you want to cut corners, your PAAR will be queried because the system is robust enough,” Edike said.
Also speaking, representative of the Customs Comptroller General, Comptroller Frances Enwereuzor, while congratulating the new executives of MARAN said the role of the media in the development of the maritime sector cannot be overemphasized and must hence be discharged with great sense of responsibility and dedication to duty.
She urged the new executives to continue to promote the existing relationship between MARAN and the NCS.
In her speech, President of the association, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Obi noted that the industry is beset with various challenges including traffic gridlock along the port access road which require urgent attention from the government.
She said the association in fulfilling its responsibility through wide reportage will continue to work with other stakeholders to proffer solution to the challenges.
She promised to continue to sustain the valuable leadership style of her predecessor, Mr. Bolaji Akinola.—-Ships and Ports