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Wharf rats vandalise imported vehicles at ports

A vehicle importer, David Okanlawon has declared the Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) unsafe for discharge of vehicles as his imported vehicle components were pilfered inside the terminal.

This was even as the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), PTML chapter confirmed vehicle pilfering at the terminal.

Speaking to newsmen, Okanlawon said his vehicle; Toyota Camry that was imported from the United States of America (USA) and discharged at the PTML terminal had its entire components tampered with inside the terminal.

According to him, the vehicle battery, air conditioner compressor, side mirrors, extra tyres, among others were all stolen within 72 days that the vehicle spent in the terminal.

Okanlawon, who said the vehicle was discharged from MV HOEGH XIAMEN on March 28, 2020, explained that he was surprised that vehicles could still be tampered with after terminals were concessioned to private operators. “My woes started on March 28, 2020, when my vehicle was discharged at PTML terminal. It was the second day the Federal Government began enforcement of lockdown, so, the clearing agent that was supposed to clear the vehicle was unable to access the port. “But, after the lockdown was relaxed in Lagos, he went to the port to clear the vehicle, an invoice of N353, 990 was raised with N269, 600 slammed on me as demurrage for the 72 days the vehicle spent in their terminal.”

Okanlawon, who has a car mart in Port Harcourt said he was surprised that despite paying huge amount on demurrage as charged by the shipping line, his vehicle was still tampered with to that extent. “I never knew Nigeria’s seaports have terrible security architecture like this because vital components in the vehicle were pilfered; the battery, compressor, side mirrors and even some components of the engine were stolen.”

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Okanlawon, who showed before and after picture of the vehicle to journalists said he was disappointed at the level of pilfering in the terminal.

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer, PTML chapter of ANLCA, Ayo Sulaiman said Wharf rats have returned to PTML damaging importers vehicles.

According to him, the management of the terminal has always been living in denial about the development.

“The Wharf rats that were once defeated at the seaports have returned. We know that a whole container was burgled at the Port and Cargo terminal some time ago. But, I know pilfering of vehicles happens mostly at mile 2 annex of the terminal and the chapter has instances of missing vehicles and they tell us it got lost on transit. We are collating a list of burgled vehicles to present to Grimaldi because this has to stop.”

When contacted, the Managing Director of PTML/Grimaldi shipping line, Ascanio Russo declined to comment. Text Messages sent to him since Monday are yet to be replied.


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