The cargo shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, will remain shut until cargo operators comply with new operational procedures that would not threaten national security and collection of revenues.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which said this on Monday in Lagos, however, said it would commence to facilitate the release of perishable goods to their importers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos recalls that the cargo shed was shut last Wednesday following violation of procedures by clearing agents at restricted sections of the terminal.
Taju Olarenwaju, Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), MMIA Command, however, said that government had directed Customs officials to identify perishable goods and clear them.
He listed them as those that fell under medical and diplomatic goods, which had remained trapped in the cargo terminal due to the crisis.
Olarenwaju said that the command would use its internal checking measures to identify the goods that fall into these specialised categories for facilitation.
He assured the importers of such goods that they would not suffer from the infraction caused by clearing agents.
He noted that the NCS had the power to deal with any violators or saboteurs who threatened national security and the collection of revenues for government.
Olarenwaju said that government would continue to keep the cargo warehouse closed because the clearing agents had demonstrated that they were not ready to comply with regulations.
The CAC said that agreements signed with the agents in the past had failed as the agents had consistently violated the rules that restricted their access to some parts of the cargo terminal.
“It has become increasingly insecure to carry out businesses at the cargo section of the airport because the agents have through their collective actions continued to threaten national security.
“They have shown that they are economic saboteurs who threaten the security of the airport and the NCS will not fold its hands and allow this.
The agents have displayed lack of capacity to enforce the new regulations in sensitive areas where cargo is kept at the airport.
“The warehouse remains shut until the agents and terminal managers show capacity to operate without threat to security,’’ he said.
Olarenwaju said that the NCS would not allow any system collapse, bomb blast or decline in revenue collection at the airport.