Onne: How Comptroller Mohammed Laid A Solid Foundation To Enhance The Command Monthly Revenue

By Stephen Ubanna

Auwal Mohammeed, Comptroller, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Port Harcourt Area II, Onne Command, Rivers state, is optimistic of generating more monthly revenue for the government as it has perfected arrangement to deploy its Mobile scanner equipment with x-ray facilities for the examination of cargoes  at the Onne port.

The Command which  took delivery  of the one of the three Rapid  cargo  Mobile Scanning Machines  of purchased by the Federal government at the cost of $8.47 billion for the Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel led , NCS, from the Asian country of China  was basically to meet the demand of the importers with their agents  who were not happy  over  the delay in the physical examination of their Containers  at the ports  which has not in any way  helped in  realizing the government objective of trade Facilitation.

The Onne Customs Comptroller may have known the tortuous processes involved in physical examination of cargoes   which is time consuming and not really perfect as when examined by scanners that he had taken  the bold initiative to ensure that the releasing officers were properly trained on the operation of the x-ray Scanners  for accurate capturing of Images to forestall false declaration, wrong Classification, Concealment and under payment.

The Port Harcourt Area II, Customs Comptroller, may have  learnt from the mistakes of the past where the Releasing officers had problem  carrying out proper Image analysis  with the Scanner Machines  bequeathed to the service by the then service providers: Cotecna Destination Inspection  Limited, CDIL,  Global Scan  Systems Limited , GSSL and  Societe General De ‘Surveillance, SGS, that he has taken the training of the Command Releasing officers serious.

The inability of the Releasing officers to  handle  the high  tech 22 X-ray Scanner Machines that had been built and installed  by the service providers     at a  cost of $20 billion in examination of Containers  may have informed why  the country’s seaports, International Airports and the Land the Land  borders became a graveyard of broken down scanners awaiting for repairs.   

Compt. Mohammed: Port Harcourt Area II, Onne

 The PortHarcourt Area II, Customs, Comptroller, may have  taken a proactive step to ensure that history did not repeat itself  by ensuring that  the Command Releasing officers are properly trained this time around  in the  handling of the  Nutech product  that was shipped to the port  from Port of Shanghai  in China ,  Last September.

 Recall that when the PortHarcourt Area II, Command, under the close watch of Comptroller Mohammed,  which overseas, the Onne port, which controls the West African Container Terminal, WACT,  and offshore terminals, within and outside  the port environment assured importers with their clearing agents and other industry stakeholders that  if hitherto the Command Examination officers have been known to examine  only  one hundred Containers daily in the past which had adverse effect on  its monthly revenue generation, the deployment of the scanners for cargo examination will make the difference as it will double the figure and also double the  revenue  collections of the Command.

The Customs Comptroller have every reason to beat his chest now that the  daily and monthly revenue  generations of the Command will increase significantly as he has has laid a very strong foundation and tightened  areas of revenue Leakage at the port. He has equally blocked the agents who are not used to doing the right thing as they have  cried out t because it is no longer business as usual. This is because officers have turned back on kickbacks  insisting that ”the right thing  must be done to avoid playing into the hands of the Customs Area Comptroller  who do not want to hear that officers are using their position to feather nest.  

 Note that even without the deployment of the Rapid  Mobile Scanner Machine since September, 2021 for its cargo examinations at  the port,  the Command, through Physical examination   had  generated and aid into the Federation Account  N17.8 billion and  N18.2 billion in August and September, 2021, respectively.

The Fraudulent  importers with their agents who may be plotting ways to sabotage the operations of the new scanner  maichines may have to do a rethink as they may not succeed. Aware of the plot of the agents, particular,  to penetrate the ranks of the Releasing officers to do the wrong thing to show that the scanners are ineffective  not may have informed why security has been tightened up at the Command exit gate.

 The Onne Customs Comptroller was said to have given Mahmood Ibrahim, a Deputy Comptroller , in charge of the Command exit  gate, and his officers, a matching order to drop  any suspected  Container released from the port at  for thorough  Physical Examination at the Command Enforcement Unit and subsequent  issuance of Demand Notice, DN, or outright seizure of the Consignment t if it contravenes the government Fiscal policy.  It is on record

It is on record  that  even without deploying the scanners for operations,  the Command officers routine physical Examination of Containers transferred  mostly   from the exit gate to Enforcement Unit had seized 560 pieces  of raw hides ‘unprocessed Leather, 1387 cartons of the Asian countries of India and China Manufactured Tramadol and 124 cartons of Pentadal, described as dangerous Pharmaceutical drugs and several other Contraband at the port.

 Many believe that the seizure would  be increase between now and December,31, 2021, as the Command perfects plans to deploy the X-ray Scanners for  Container examinations expected to enhance trade Facilitation.

Determined to carry the importers with their agents  along in its  activities, particular, with the planned deployment of the scanner Machines  for its operations the Command officials have maintained  regular interaction with the Leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, who had remained a pain on the neck of the of the Customs personnel, National  Association of Government Approved Agents, NAGAFF, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs  Agents, NCMDLCA and  other Associations representing the interests of the  Agents at the ports to ensure that there will not be any problem with the deployment of the Rapid  Mobile Scanner  equipment for examination of Containers or physical examination of suspected Containers that may have gone through the  scanner process at the port.

 Perhaps, this may have informed why he has asked he analogue Customs officers attached to the Command to refreshen up and embrace the  technology of the use of Mobile Scanner  for examination of Containers for proper Image interpretation,  prevention of mistakes and increasing their  overall productivity .

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