Controller OA Salefu, CAC Western Marine Command
CUSTOMS PRIDE: CGC Gives Matching Orders For Vessels To Be Operational In Thirty Days
… orders Two more Vessels from Singapore
By Jerry Aguigbo
The Nigeria Customs Service has given hint that it’s vessels, Customs Pride and the group of Nine will become Operational in November 2023. This much was gathered from the Customs Area Controller Western Marine Command, Comptroller OA Salefu in an interactive session with Journalists yesterday.
The Controller disclosed that the Customs Controller-General, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has given the consultants, Port Plus a matching order to effect all necessary repairs and ensure that the two Vessels are sea borne in November, 2023, having taken stock of the cost of putting the two Vessels back into operation. ” The CGC gave a matching order for the Vessels to be put to use within 30 days and asked me to report back within this period.”
The CAC revealed that part of the delay witnessed with the repairs of the Customs vessels arose from contractual issues and administrative lacuna which have been sorted out. According to him, the contractor insisted that the maintenance cost incured under the Compt. Dikko Abdullahi Inde administration was not properly transferred to the Comptroller Hameed Ali’s administration which did not state the debt owed to Portplus causing some delay but has been taken care of by the present CGC, and the contract rewarded to Port Plus after enquires. “Though Comptroller Adeniyi is still trying his best to see how he can marry the previous debt and the present reality of actual maintenance cost, to ensure the vessels are sea borne. We will do all we can do to bring these boats back into operation, because without them we have been using 40 hrs power boats to sail 100 to 140 nautical miles into the Atlantic, that was how the officers of the Western Marine Command were able to Intercept and make seizures of over 120 sacks of Indian hemp very far into the Atlantic ocean and also last week, over 20 Sacks of of Indian hemp again from the Atlantic ocean. We also have a very big quantity of Tramadol from the same place. These were done manually through the braveity of my officers. If we can go 40-140 Nautical miles into the Atlantic Ocean, I assure you that when we have the vessels, we do much more,”Salefu stated.
Continuing, he enthused that Customs Pride and the group of Nine will soon set sail and the Western Marine Command will be back to the top, he stated that the CG is doing his best to make this happen.
On the preparedness of the officer and men of the Marine Unit to take over the running of the vessels when fully operational, Controller Salefu explained that the CGC has asked the Consultant, Portplus and the Navy to liaise with the Western Marine Command on training and retraining of Marine officers. “The CGC has also sent three personnel to Singapore for training, in preparation to fully to fully take – over the operations of the vessels and to receive the two brown new
vessels recently purchased.
Another group of personnel he revealed, will also embark on training either in Singapore or South Korea. The CAC went further to say that ” ever since this CGC came onboard, the Marine Department is receiving utmost attention in terms of training and retraining of personnel. Safety officers and Naval Engineers have also given assurance that officers of the Western Marine Command will be trained in any area that will be relevant. So due process will be followed, the Navy is not being drafted fully, but their mandate is to boost the Operating of private sector, as represented by Portplus,” he said.
Salefu also stated that the Customs Comptroller-General has also awarded contract for building of Jetties to ease the operation of the vessels.
On the maintenance cost so far incured by the vessels, the Controller said about N23 million has so far been spent by Portplus to maintain the Customs vessels.