Criminal activities at the Apapa and Tin-can Island ports have reached an alarming proportion as wharf rats pilfered importers’ cargoes and broach containers at the port.
Pilfering at the seaports, according to LEADERSHIP investigations, has been happening unabated at the Lagos seaports as container laden with cargoes are mostly broken into and the content plifered at night.
It was gathered that contrabands, especially, tramadol and codeine seized by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), also suffered same fate forcing the service to place any seized contraband at the port under strict security surveillance.
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as landlords of the port is expected to ensure that Nigerian ports comply with minimum security requirements and access controls.
However, stakeholders have attributed the resurgence of activities of wharf rats to criminal residing inside the Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports.
According to the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), scores of homeless miscreants have taken over the Apapa port sleeping at various terminals.
Speaking, the chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, said, 100 per cent compliance team of NAGAFF alleged that people who sleep at terminal operator’s Platform in the night and play football after working hours are responsible for the cargo theft.
According to him, those sleeping at the terminals are responsible for various forms of criminal activities, ranging from broaching of containers to looting of cargoes.
He said: “container broaching is an organised crime because one person cannot carry this activities out successfully. There is a need to reduce crowd at the examination bay because We observed that about 50 – 60 people sleep in APMT platform.”
Also speaking, the president, Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Jonathan Nicol, said NPA and Nigeria Police, maritime command should provide security at the port while operators should provide security at various terminals.
“NPA and Port police are responsible for security of the port and they should prohibit residing at the port because seaport is a transit point and not a resident. So, NPA should step up security as the ports needs to be International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) code compliant and anywhere there are lapses should be blocked,” he said.
The vice-president, Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said people who resides in the port do that because of the Apapa traffic gridlock.
According to him, majority of people accessing the ports had nothing to do at the port saying government should delineate port area
He said government must ensure digitalisation so as to reduce human interface and people seeking access to the port daily.