The federal government on Tuesday commissioned three mobile cargo scanners to check the influx of arms and ammunition into Nigeria through the seaports.
Tuesday’s commissioning, which was simultaneously done in Apapa, Tin-Can, both in Lagos and Onnne in Rivers State, by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, is to among others, bridge the infrastructural deficit in the clearing process at the nation’s seaports.
It could be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC), had in July 2020 approved $18.12 million (N8billion) for the procurement of cargo scanners at the seaports.
The scanners were delivered in December 2021 to ease port operations and eliminate 100 per cent examination.
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Speaking at the commissioning of the three new Nuctech Mobile Scanners in Apapa, Ahmed said they have the capacity to detect prohibited imports concealed in cargo.
She said they would enable more cargoes to be scanned and bring about the desired efficiency and effectiveness in cargo examination processes.
“These three scanners will help increase revenue for the government and improve national security. They would also help enhance the remote audit trail of goods within the port system,” she said.
She implored the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), port terminal operators and all stakeholders in the port to cooperate with NCS to take full advantage of the scanners, which have the capacity to process up to 500 containers a day.
In his remark, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), said the scanners are an intervention pending the commencement of the customs modernisation that will deploy 135 scanners, adding that by 2023, there would be scanners all over Nigeria.
He said as part of the reform strategy of the present administration, the service was compelled to adopt technology as indispensable in trade facilitation.
“As trade increases in volume, so must our capacity for facilitation. Efficient cargo management and the full automation of customs and other regulatory processes is guaranteed to bring down the cost of clearing, and ultimately the prices of goods in the open market, an occurrence that will be beneficial to consumers in Nigeria,” he added
He explained that the challenge of security is of immense concern to all well-meaning citizens.
“Since we know that a good number of items which pose a threat to national security find their way through our various entry points, we believe that the equipment that is being commissioned today will greatly enhance our capacity to defend our dear nation.”