The House of Representatives has condemned the physical inspection of consignment at the seaports and land borders, urging the Federal Government to install functional scanners in order to ensure speed and efficiency inspection.
The call was the effect of the united adoption of a motion moved by a member, Leke Abejide, at the plenary on Thursday.
The motion was titled ‘Need to investigate the lack of transparency in the transfer of technical know-how from Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited to Global Scan Systems Limited’.
Abejide said the House Committee on Customs and Excise recently embarked on a week oversight visit to Zone A Command of the Nigeria Customs Service to find out the level of revenue generation and the challenges.
Abejide stated that the committee discovered abnormalities and if not tackled, the Nigerian ports would remain at the risk of impending collapse.
He said, “The House is appalled by the non-functional scanners rotting away at the ports, which were meant to detect arms and ammunitions concealed in containerised cargoes, further putting the country at risk of unabated security risk.
“In 2006, Nigeria acquired cargo scanners worth more than $120m and retained the service providers on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer terms.
“The contract also provided that the service providers were to provide training services and technical support to the Nigeria Customs Service on risk management, valuation and classification.
“By the end of 2013, the transition process from Cotecna, SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited and Global Scan Systems Nigeria Limited, the former service providers, were completed and the scanners handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service.”
He also noted that the modernisation in the Nigeria Customs did not last long, explaining that a year after the handover, the scanners had stopped functioning which forced Nigerian ports and borders to returned to the “analogue era of 100 per cent physical examination.”
Abejide explained that only about 40 to 60 containers are physically examined at Apapa Port daily, while between 50 and 70 are examined daily at Tin Can Island Port, noting that an installed scanner can take up to about 150 containers daily.
He also said the committee found out that the scanners were better in standard than the scanners in the Port of Doha, Qatar.
The House adopting the motion, advised the Federal Government to “provide viable scanners for Nigerian ports and border stations and in the process involve relevant stakeholders such as the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigerian Ports Authority from inception of negotiation.”
The House also directed its Committee on Customs and Excise to “investigate the era of scanners in Nigeria, the contracts, management, cancellations, re–awards and operations, which led to the total collapse of the multimillion dollar scanners in all the seaports and border stations.”