Following disputes between freight forwarders and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) over interference of police officials in cargo clearance procedures at Lagos ports, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone II Alhaji Mohammed Ari Ali has outlined special cases where policemen would have interest in cargoes at the seaports.
AIG Mohammed, who was speaking during a visit to the national headquarters of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), argued that police interest in cargo clearance arises when there is intelligence report that a particular container is carrying offensive items that can pose a threat to national security.
While the Police AIG opined that police officers should desist from stopping and searching containers released from the ports by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), especially along the port corridors, he advised the aggrieved freight forwarders to take the issue to the AIG Maritime.
Meanwhile, AIG Mohammed recalled an incident when policemen under his supervision intercepted a container loaded with arms and ammunition along Apapa axis, stressing the need for greater inter-agency collaboration and unity of purpose in curbing crimes in the nation.
He, however, reiterated the essence of community policing in the society stating that ‘it is when there is peace and tranquility in the society through partnership and collaboration between the police and members of the public that development can take place”
Mohammed, who commended NAGAFF on its contributions to the maritime industry, said his visit to the freight forwarding body was a home coming, since he had known NAGAFF when he was Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Area – B Command; and later became the Area Commander of the same station.
On his part, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam recalled that on the inaugural day of NAGAFF a former Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali deployed mobile police officers in a large number with guns in a bid to maintain peace at the occasion.
The NAGAFF Founder also noted that the former Police IG had visited NAGAFF as an AIG before his ascension to IG, hence, he wished AIG Mohammed the same growth trajectory in his career.
“Our visitor today AIG Mohammed Ari Ali seated with us. At the exit and or what you may call movement order in the force, AIG Hassan Bala (Rtd) handed NAGAFF and its members over to Area B Police Command. Mohammed Ari Ali who was then a divisional police officer Area B and now an Assistant Inspector General of Police has kept an eye on us since then,” Aniebonam said.
The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko earlier reported the undue interference in cargo clearance at ports and interception on highways by police officers.
Also speaking, a governing board member of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Princess Chi Ezeh, thanked the Police AIG for his visit and robust deliberations while she drew his attention to the sharp practices at Alagbon Police Division.
Earlier, AIG Mohammed had clarified that policemen had no right to detain citizens over civil matters for more than 24 hours and stressed that stop and search on highways shouldn’t involve searching citizen’s mobile phones.
According to AIG Mohammed, Police officers, however, can demand to search mobile phones of arrested persons at the police station when the crime is believed to be connected to the mobile phones.