A lecturer at Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Mr. Charles Okorefe, has condemned the incessant interception of cargo handling by multiple customs units and argues that the agency should embrace the use of blockchain technology for efficient digital operations.

Speaking at the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP), recently held in Badagry, Lagos, Mr. Okorefe explained that continued interception of cargoes by multiple units of customs outside ports is gives the impression that Customs units are not under one leadership.

Delivering the lead paper at the event themed “The Role of Technology in Trade Facilitation and Smuggling Suppression,” Okorefe emphasized that the compactness of blockchain used profitably in managing cryptocurrencies could lead to seamless customs operations.

“All customs units must make themselves available for customs investigations, so that no interception takes place after goods leave the ports. This would address the problem of mistrust between the different units of Customs,” he said.

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Okorefe warned that there were dire consequences from the unnecessary interceptions with Nigeria, which has signed and ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), as the nation could become the straggler in the treaty.

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He noted that server outages were too common at customs, leading to high costs that were eventually passed on to consumers of imported goods through additional demurrage and storage costs.

Nigerian Port Consultative Council chairman Otunba Kunle Folarin spoke earlier and condemned the federal government’s list of banned products that are not produced in sufficient quantities in the country.

Otunba Folarin noted that human elements and monetary benefits are the biggest challenges facing technological innovations in the country’s ports.

In his own speech, President of the venue and Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, described the theme of the training program as appropriate.

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“The media is one of the most important elements in nation building and everything we do in life. The maritime media is very unique and works tirelessly. I receive news at 1:00 AM and 2:00 PM because they work around the clock. This shows your passion to change and purify the industry. You always want to sensitize, educate and correct false impressions in the industry and we are grateful to have this vibrant maritime press,” said Jamoh.

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