Federal Government is currently losing N500 million annually to syndicates specialized in stealing export consignments.
The activity of the syndicate is also said to be undermining the current government’s efforts of economic diversification away from oil export.
The first incident is that of Global Enterprise, which was said to have brought his consignment intact to the port but between the time the goods arrived at the port and when it was loaded on board the vessel, a sizable quantity has been stolen.
Another incident is a shipment of four units of 20 feet containers of Sesame Seed that was to be shipped to Dubai sometime last year from a warehouse around the Coconut area of Lagos.
Investigation showed that the exporter lost about N12.04 million of the N42.6 million worth of consignments, as 430 out of the 1520 bags got missing. Each bag, our correspondent gathered, is worth N28,000.
The latest is the stealing of a 40-foot container of cocoa meant for export to the United States of America, USA, where investigation revealed that late last year the incident caused the export a loss of about N55 million.
The 40-foot container of cocoa (comprising 410 bags) was loaded around the Cocoanut area of Lagos on December 17, 2020 but the exporter’s agent was unable to locate the consignment almost a month after.
Subsequently, the matter was reported to the Roll-on – Roll-off, RoRo Port police Command who traced the owner of the truck to Ibadan. On arrest, the truck owner told the police that he sold the truck around March last year.
The police went after the buyer who confirmed that he actually bought the truck which he dismantled. He, however, told the police investigation team that someone came to collect the plate number of the said truck for “an operation.”
When arrested, the man who took the plate number confirmed that they were responsible for stealing the container which was taken to Shagamu, Ogun State, where they sold the consignment before dismantling the truck with which the goods were transported from the warehouse.
A source close to the exporter’s agent, Ama Ventures Ltd, confirmed the incident but said that the police are working on the case, noting that a lot of those connected to the incident have been arrested.
When contacted, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, told journalists that the Council is working on a bill in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, (Bill of Carriage) that would lead to the regulation haulage business in the country.
According to him, “Exporters must be very careful in the sense that they should know who they entrust their cargo on. They should have a contract with them. I know because access to the port has become a problem, which we hope to see ending around March this year” he noted.
When contacted, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO of RoRo Police Station, Mike Njoku, said that the case has been transferred out of the station.
The DPO directed journalists to the police headquarters for any information about the case.