The Shipping lines and agencies have been accused by the Nigeria Customs Service of being responsible for shipment of illicit items into Nigeria, vowing to clampdown on vessels that have made any changes on their manifest.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), during a meeting with shipping companies, terminal operators and other critical stakeholders in the maritime industry in Lagos, on Tuesday.
Ali explained that ships sailing to Nigeria change their manifests at sea from what they originally stated was the content from the point of origin of such cargoes.
Speaking against the background of the interception of over 2,000 pump action rifles at Tin Can Island Port, Ali said the documents from Turkey stated the original contents of the containers but these were changed when the ship got to Morocco.
“Shipping lines are responsible for shipping illicit items to Nigeria and I say this with all sense of responsibility because what we discovered in the case of arms is that in the last two months, when we went to Turkey, we discovered that they were documented as pump action rifles.
“So, the exit certificate from Turkey indicates the actual content because to them, they did not know that the pump action rifles are on the restricted list in Nigeria. Therefore they did not need to contact us before allowing their export it.
“But the importers of these weapons knowing that it is prohibited in Nigeria, when they got to Morocco, they changed the manifest and concealed the weapons with sanitary wares,” he said.
He queried shipping lines on why they accept the change of manifest in the course of transporting goods to Nigeria.