Fear Grips Importers And Other Nigerians

Fear has enveloped importers, licensed customs agents and other Nigerians with businesses within the nation’s seaports situated in Lagos, following the intelligence reports that the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram are planning to carry out attacks on the area.

The terror alert was issued by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (retd).

The fear was heightened after the attacks in two different locations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja last weekend, which claimed the lives of many Nigerians.

The Nigeria’s busiest and largest ports, Apapa Quay and Tin Can Island ports respectively are located in the highly crowded Apapa area. The failed roads, with attendant gridlock have been a cause for concern to residents and other people whose offices are located in the area.

Already, a body, which comprises officials responsible for security in the nation’s seaports, has met in Lagos to evolve strategies to forestall any planned attack on the ports.

The body, “Port Facility Security Officer Forum”, has enjoined its members to be alive to their statutory roles and responsibilities as security officers in the nation’s seaports and intensify surveillance in their respective terminals and facilities.

Recently, some persons suspected to be members of the Islamist group were nabbed in Lagos. Security experts said the development showed that the terrorists may have extended their operations beyond the north eastern part of the country.

A Lagos based importer, Mr. Mathew Balogun, who regularly uses one of the terminals situated in Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, told THISDAY early in the week that he has become more security conscious since the terror alert.

“It is not that I do not go to the port again. I still go there for my business. After all, I need to do my business to survive and take care of my family. However, I am more security conscious unlike in the past. I close early.  These were things I was not doing before the red alert was made public. It is tough but for now I have no other alternative.

“I also asked my staff to avoid crowded places. No one knows the exact time and place these terrorists will decide to perpetrate their evil plans. The only thing one can do is to be prayerful and more security conscious of one’s environment. Gone are the day, I do business with people or go certain places within the port environment without minding the security implications”, Balogun added.

A licensed customs agent who preferred anonymity said it was no longer business as usual at the port.

“Nowadays, it is not every job I accept to clear. If I am not sure of the identity of the consignee, I do not touch it. It is better I do a small job and survive than to go and handle the one that will take my life”, he said.


Source: Thisday Nigeria

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