Thursday, 8 June 2017

Confusion as NDLEA insist on presence at the seaports

Confusion as NDLEA insist on presence at the seaports

NPA MENTIONED 8 AGENCIES —NDLEA; WE MENTIONED 7 AGENCIES —NPA

THERE is seeming confusion at the ports as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday claimed the agency was among those approved to operate at the ports by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

It will be recalled that while speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with other agencies of government aimed at looking at enforcing the Presidential Executive Order at the seaports, the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman had named the NPA; Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigerian Police Force; Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health as the approved agencies to operate at the nation’s seaports.

The NPA MD stated that, “Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Port Quarantine Services; National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) should leave the ports with immediate effect.”

The NPA also issued a statement on Wednesday, signed by the agency’s Principal Manager, Nasiru Ibrahim affirming that the seven agencies: NPA, NIMASA, NCS, DSS, Port Health, NIS, and NPF are the agencies approved to be inside the seaports.

However, on Thursday, a statement signed by NDLEA Spokesman, Ofoyeju Mitchell stated that the NPA MD had actually mentioned eight agencies.

According to NDLEA, “The Federal Government has endorsed the operations of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the seaports.

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This clarification was openly made by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos on Wednesday sequel to the implementation of the executive order issued by the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on the ease of doing business at the ports.

“Eight agencies have been mandated and approved to operate within the ports. Agencies that are operating in the port apart from the approved list should be aware that they need to vacate whatever location they are currently occupying.

“The approved agencies are as follows, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Police, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Port Health Authority (PHA).”

Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) equally affirmed that the agency has the presidential mandate to work at the seaport. In his words, “NDLEA has been cleared by the presidency to work at the seaports. This official position must be respected by all port agencies and stakeholders.

Attempt to violate this directive shall be considered as a conspiracy to advance the nefarious activities of drug cartels to the detriment of our national security.”

Abdallah also called for synergy among government agencies adding that inter agency collaboration and strict adherence to best practices are essential requirements for enhanced security and speedy clearance of cargoes thereby making the ports user friendly and economically viable.

It should be noted that Section 8 (1b) of the NDLEA Act states that the agency shall work in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Services in monitoring the movement of goods and persons in any customs area, customs station, customs port or customs airport and searching cargoes and incoming and outgoing vessels, including pleasure craft and fishing vessels as well as aircraft and vehicles and, when appropriate, searching crew members, passengers and their baggage.

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