The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, on Wednesday punctured claims by the Senate that 282 vessels got missing under the watch of the NPA between 2010 and 2016.
A statement by Ibrahim Nasiru, the Principal Manager Public Affairs, NPA, said some of the documents presented by the senate committee were repetitive and some did not provide the data that will enable verification by the authority.
Earlier, the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, headed by Hope Uzodinma, had claimed that a total of 282 vessels got missing at the various terminals of the NPA between 2010 and 2016.
Speaking at a public hearing on “Smuggling – a threat to Nigeria’s quest to self-sufficiency in rice production,” Mr. Uzodinma said that documents available to the Senate showed names of the vessel owners and the NPA officials who released them.
But the NPA in its statement said the claims were not verifiable.
“On Thursday, July 20, 2017,” the statement read in part, “the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff handed over documents containing a list of 29 items which are a combination of vessels and details of individual Bill of Ladings of consignments carried by different vessels to representatives of NPA for review.
“On July 24, 2017, the NPA received another set of ten volumes of items numbering 1-1252 alleged to have been transported by vessels said to have called at the NPA.
This was delivered to the Authority by the Nigerian Shippers Council on the instructions of the Senate Committee.”
Explaining further, the statement noted that the NPA, after reviewing the documents as requested by the Committee, discovered that of the 29 items handed over to the NPA on July 20, 2017, only five vessels were identifiable.
“We discovered that the other 24 items are repetitions of the five vessels that were identified,” it said.
“Concerning the ten volumes of items numbering 1-1252 handed over to the NPA by the Nigerian Shippers Council, the NPA was unable to conduct a meaningful review as the documents did not provide the data that will enable verification.
“The documents provided did not have the following: No vessel names were provided; No dates of arrival of the vessels were given (This makes it impossible for us to establish links with the manifest, bill of lading and consignee); No port of call and name of terminal where vessel berthed were provided; (and) No rotation number of vessels was supplied.”
According to the NPA, a report with relevant supporting documents evidencing payment of all charges for the five vessels has been forwarded to the Senate Committee as requested.
The Senate committee is yet to react to this response by the NPA.