Nigeria: 8,000 Nigeria-Bound Trucks Stranded At Seme Border
No fewer than 8,000 trucks conveying imported goods into the country
have been stranded at Seme border owing to the establishment of a
new order of operations and stringent clearing process.
A visit to the nation's busiest border revealed that the subsisting
congestion was caused majorly by the closure of the popular Atlas
Park previously operated by Republic of Benin.
It was also gathered that the cargo scanners at Seme were not in use,
forcing the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to adopt the slow and time-
consuming 100 per cent examination.
The service confirmed to The Guardian that the park was "illegally"
operated, hence its closure.
The trucks on trans-border trade now make use of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) joint border post before
accessing the newly opened Nigerian park in the area for trans-loading
and other activities.
Investigation equally revealed that the new facility, situated on the
Nigerian side of the border, is yet to be completed, causing traders
some inconveniences in the transit and clearing process.
Some ECOWAS officials at the border bemoaned the traffic, noting that
trucks spend as much as one month before proceeding to Nigeria.
Craving anonymity, they hinted that some of the vehicles had been
cleared but waiting approvals to hit the trans-loading point.
The delay has restricted the movement of others, which now queue in
droves at the Cotonou end.
The Customs Area Controller, Seme Command, Comptroller Uba
Mohammed, promised that no demurrage would be charged on the
stranded cargoes, as the park is run by the service.
He attributed the congestion to the "new order" at the border, adding
that the situation would soon normalise.
However, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in
Nigeria (CRFFN) yesterday averted the grounding of Lagos ports, an
action that could have affected seaborne trade negatively.
The Registrar, Nwakohu Samuel, after a meeting with the Group of
Concerned Freight Forwarders from Western Zone, pleaded with them
to stay action and give the council 14 working days to address their
grievances and revert to them.
He promised to run an all-encompassing administration for efficient
delivery of the mandate of the regulatory body.
The agents had under the auspices of the Association of Nigerian
Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of
Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and National
Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents
(NCMDLCA), given the Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali,
72 hours to address the problem of multiple checkpoint at the ports,
else they would paralyse activities at the facilities.