By Sade Williams
The Federal Government has endorsed the operations of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the seaports.
This clarification was made by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos on Wednesday sequel to the implementation of the executive order issued by the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on the ease of doing business at the ports.
According to the MD, “eight agencies have been mandated and approved to operate within the ports. Agencies that are operating in the port apart from the approved list should be aware that they need to vacate whatever location they are currently occupying”.
The approved Agencies are as follows, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Police, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Port Health Authority (PHA).
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) equally affirmed that the Agency has the presidential mandate to work at the seaport.
“NDLEA has been cleared by the presidency to work at the seaports. This official position must be respected by all port agencies and stakeholders. Attempt to violate this directive shall be considered as a conspiracy to advance the nefarious activities of drug cartels to the detriment of our national security”, he said.
Abdallah also called for synergy among government Agencies adding that inter agency collaboration and strict adherence to best practices are essential requirements for enhanced security and speedy clearance of cargoes thereby making the ports user friendly and economically viable.
It should be noted that section 8 (1b) of the NDLEA Act states clearly that the Agency shall work in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Services in monitoring the movement of goods and persons in any customs area, customs stations, customs ports or customs airports and searching cargoes and incoming and outgoing vessels, including pleasure craft and fishing vessels as well as aircraft and vehicles and, when appropriate, searching crew members, passengers and their baggage.