Discos, Customs Disagree On Collection
While millions of Nigerians continue to suffer grossly as a result of the scarcity of power supply in the country, over 200 containers of power equipment and transformers have been abandoned at the Ikorodu Container Terminal in Lagos.
MMS Plus discovered this during a recent tour by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to the Ikorodu Container Terminal.
The Terminal Manager at the facility, Mr. Orleans Nze told MMS Plus that most of these PHCN containers had been abandoned at the terminal since 2008 prior to the privatization of the National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) to become Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and its further unbundling into 10 Local Electric Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and 6 Generating Companies (GENCOs).
Most of the power containers are 40ft and the transformers and other power facilities therein may have been damaged having spent several years at the terminal.
“As at last month some people came to collect debit note on the PHCN cargo that arrived in 2014, but the bulk of the power containers which are over 200 remain in the terminal and some of them arrived in 2008. These are government consignments and so it is not something that can be auctioned”, the terminal manager said.
Following the recent transformation witnessed in the national power company, there seems to be a controversy as to which DIS get the equipment. Meanwhile, the Customs at the terminal had allegedly deprived discos from collecting the containers on the grounds that they did not come with proper documentation.
“There was a time all the distribution companies came for the cargo but the Customs said they did not do the proper documentation so the Customs referred them back and since then they have not returned” Mr. Orleans said.
MMS Plus investigations revealed that the Transmission Company of Nigeria recently moved some PHCN containers from the Ikorodu Terminal, but the destination of the containers were not revealed.
When quizzed on the value of the PHCN cargoes at the terminal, the Customs Public Relations Officer at the Command, one Olorede feigned ignorance as he maintained that such information was beyond his reach. However, subsequent efforts to reach him, Olorede declined speaking to our correspondent as he kept mum after picking his call severally.
There is also the issue of incurred demurrage as well as charges for containers that have been at the terminal for many years. Would the government pay demurrage? How much would that be? How much do they owe the shipping lines whose containers have been stuck at Ikorodu for years?
Meanwhile, a stakeholder at the terminal who pleaded anonymity revealed that the Customs have also been involved in selling some of the containers at the facility.
It should be recalled that under the Dikko administration, several containers went missing from the terminal only for the containers to re-appear when the former Comptroller General of Customs turned on the heat and intensified investigation at the terminal.
It was also observed that the security of the terminal was very porous as one could easily access the terminal through the waterways and do away with any item since the facility is not fenced.
The Customs would also need to speedily dispose some of the content in the containers at the terminal which were seen leaking out chemical substances that may have adverse health implications to everyone around the terminal.
During the inspection, the Deputy Director, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement, Chief Cajetan .C Agu who led the Council’s delegation to the Ikorodu Container Terminal urged the government to explore opportunities to develop the facility.
Noting that badges were used to convey containers to the terminal in the past, Chief Agu asserted that the terminal could be transformed into an export base especially as it has two large warehouses.
By Kenneth Jukpor