Multi-million Dollar Scanners Rotting Away At Apapa Port

The controller of the Apapa Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Service, Mohammed Abba-Kura, has stated that a total of three multi-million dollar high-caliber mobile scanning machines belonging to the Nigerian Customs Service are deteriorating in the port of Apapa .

The Smiths Hiemann 2533 HCV machines, which were run by a foreign company known as Cortena, have not been used since 2015, when the contract involving the company was revoked. The Nation informs.

The controller of the Apapa Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Service, Mohammed Abba-Kura, told the House of Representatives Customs and Excise Committee on an oversight visit to the Command that the policy was introduced on the issue of scanners sometimes in 2015.

According to him, the contract involving Cotecna was revoked and reassigned to a Nigerian company known as Global Scan.

He said the company lacked the technical capacity to manage the scanners, adding that even the CIRs issued by the company were the worst Customs had ever worked with.

Abba-Kura said: “The issue of politics was brought up to the scan. Even the contract with the service providers, for so many years, the Nigerian Customs Service was not part of it. If you want to do a project, you have to attract stakeholders to be part of that project because once they are part of it, it will be a success story and a win-win situation.

“Cotecna is one of the service providers that did very well. They were the ones who installed the fixed scanners and the mobile scanners in the ports of Tincan and Apapa and they did very well managing them and many officers were trained. Many of us benefit from such training.

“But for political reasons, sometimes in 2015 Apapa’s was withdrawn from Cotecna and handed over to a Nigerian Global Scan owned by Sir Emeka Offor. You do not have the ability to manage it. Even the CIR that was broadcasting at the time was the worst CIR we have ever worked with.

“Some of us had the privilege of being taken abroad to visit other ports. But the fixed scanners we have here were more advanced than the ones we have at the Port of Doha.

“We have some of the best officers trained in the use of these scanners. Some of us sent over a year and a half attending those trainings. So if the scanners are working, we will reduce the work hours submitted to the exam.

“We will generate more income and discover so many things that are prohibited. But there is nothing we can do right now because there are laws that must be followed.

“If the money is budgeted and not released, you should be able to know why the money was not delivered and the person responsible should be penalized so that others sit down and do things correctly.”

Committee members expressed their disgust at the abandonment of the scanners that cost the country several million dollars.

The committee’s vice chairman, Leke Abejide, said: “We just took a tour to see the mobile and stationary scanning machines. They are in a dying state. Nothing happens there.

“We need to thoroughly investigate the activities of the scanning age and see how we can find a solution to help the system make their job easier and they can generate more revenue. As it is now, nothing is moving here in the port.

“Look at the access road to the port, a place where the government receives 40 billion naira a month. I do not think that the construction of this road will require 40 billion naira.

“Politics was allowed to come in when it was taken from Cotecna and handed over to Global Scan, even when Cotecna is superior in terms of capacity, knowledge and innovation. When that policy came in, it paralyzed the system.

“As parliament, we will investigate it and find a solution. We will work with Customs and all stakeholders to advise the government on the best way forward. “

A site visit by the Committee revealed long years of neglect of the already dilapidated facilities.