Government to begin restriction of access to seaports, airports in 2017

The Federal Government has directed that from January 1, 2017, nobody will be allowed access into the seaports and airports without a security gate pass.

The Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who approved this directive in a letter referenced T.4604/S.2/T3/491 obtained by The Guardian yesterday said: “for anybody to gain access to the port, he/she must have proof of business at the port for that day or he/she is a staff of the port.”

The letter signed by Deputy Director, ICD, Maritime Service Department of the Ministry, Patrick Ekawu, said that as a requirement for access into the ports, freight forwarders must possess the Council for the Regulation for Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) certificate or identity card before obtaining the gate pass to operate at the seaports, airports, and land border stations.

It however, declared that the “CRFFN shall collect all monies for the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) and warehoused by the Council and disbursed based on the formula recommended by the committee,”

The directive therefore forbid the associations from collecting dues within the seaport and airport facilities and land border stations.

“From January 1, 2017, the use of biometric cards will be enforced to make for seamless and effective operation at the seaport.

“The representatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) are to inform their management on the decisions reached at the meeting for their implementation of Sections 19(1&2) of the CRFFN Act.

“That the NCS will ensure that all license to be issued or renewed henceforth will first be cleared by CRFFN. The Council will prior to issuance ensure full payment of registration, yearly subscription and POF.

“Furthermore, that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will direct the Nigerian Aviation Handling Co. Limited (NAHCO) and Sky Aviation Handling Co. Limited (SAHCOL) to comply with the minister’s directive on payment of Practitioners’ Operating Fee and Nigerian Ports Authority to direct the Seaport Terminal Operators (STOAN) to comply with the minister’s directive on payment of Practitioners’ Operating Fee by ensuring the POF payment as additional requirement for release of cargo from ports.

“That the port access through biometric card will take effect from 1st January 2017, while the payment of POF will commence with effect from Monday 24th October 2016,” the release stated.

The stakeholders had on October 11 met with the minister at the Ministry’s conference room in Abuja to look at the recommendations of the report on the investigations of alleged illegal collection of fees at the nation’s seaports, airports and land border stations.

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