I am Ahmad Rabiu, Chairman Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited. We are among the Six Pioneer Inland Dry Ports approved by the Federal Executive Council in year 2003 initially on landlord model, but signed Concession Agreements on BOOT (Build, Own, Operate & Transfer) in year 2006. Due to challenges on policy inconsistency and somersault, we are yet to commence full operations. We are however, very proud and sincerely commend the Executives, Management and Staff of the Coordinating Agency, the Nigerian Shippers Council for their unrelenting efforts to ensure the actualization of our projects across the Country.
Customs Circulars 008&009 issued on 21st and 22nd October respectively refers.
It is sad that Nigerian Executives continue to act in Military Fashion through blanket judgments and issuance of arbitrary orders without due regards to global trends and expectations on good governance.
We are operating under coordination by an Agency of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Shippers Council and if any other Federal Government Agency has any issues with our operations, we trust the only fair way to go is to involve that Agency.
The first Circular requires all sealed motor vehicles marts to settle issues of appropriate Duty Payments at the individual zonal headquarters. This is not good for the Nigeria Customs as it suggests their officers in other locations are either not competent or trustworthy to handle. In addition it will cause undue hardship to affected persons and Nigerian as a whole.
On Circular number 009 which requires all sealed containers to be broken and the contents inspected at the Sea Ports of first arrival and after ascertaining their correctness, reseal them and send them to the intended bonded Terminal with escorts. We believe this will cause further undue transfer delays at the Sea Ports and more importantly open the cargo to pilferage at the Sea Ports as we have seen what is trending in the social media. We have seen wanton pilferages of uncleared cargos and that is making our Sea Ports unsafe and may soon be so classified by the IMO/UNCTAD. More disturbing is that this development has sent wrong signals to our foreign partners to the effect that their investments are unsafe as the Government Agencies are still in the habit of blanket judgments and issuing arbitrary orders.
The Nigeria Customs is telling us that they are not competent to address issues on their individual merits. The innocent should not just be subjected to undue punishment because the regulators are lacking in capacity to fish out and punish erring parties. We respect the CGC of Customs, Col Hamid Ali and trust him as an honest person, but he must be a fair judge. Consult appropriately, obtain professional advice on how to tackle individual challenges which never abate even in the very developed world in UK or USA etc.
We wish to call on the CGC to rescind his decision and also call on the National Assembly to take appropriate steps to protect the innocent and ensure continuing enthronement of good governance at all levels in our polity.
The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council PEBEC under the Chairmanship of His Excellency, Vice President of the Federal Republic, Professor Yomi Osinbanjo GCON should also act very quickly as the World Bank may view this negatively and it may affect our future rating by them.
I call on the stakeholders to remain calm and be law abiding.
I also wish to call on President Muhammad Buhari GCFR to cause the Minister of Transportation to declare Dala Inland Dry Port Kano as Port of Origin and Destination as the ultimate remedy to all challenges on Customs operations.
Ahmad Rabiu was Kano State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives & Tourism and PEBEC. He was President of Kano Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also Chairman of Conference of Northern Nigeria Chambers of Commerce and Industry and is currently Vice President of NACCIMA and a member of NESG.