By DAPO OLAWUNI
There are indications that bonded terminal operators in Nigeria are scared of the 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved FreightForwarders (NAGAFF) even as the team yesterday embarked on a tour of all bonded terminals in Nigeria.
The National Cordinator of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko yesterday led his members on a working visit to Mid Maritime Services at Tin Can Island Port second gate.
On getting to the facility, the terminal operators resisted the team access into its facilities for fear of getting exposed. The issue nearly resulted in chaos, but for the maturity and calmness of the NAGAFF members.
Mid Maritime management later succumbed to the NAGAFF visiting team by allowing her access and to hold meetings with the Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of the terminal.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Tanko said “There are some people here, they call themselves the owner if this place, maybe they are helping to do the wrong thing here, that is the fear they are having, they dont want to allow us inside here, but we have resolved that issue”
“The DC Terminal has accepted to work with us 100 percent, he even communicated with my founder and promised same thing, I told him whether he accepts to work with us or not, we are here to work with him and to support the government”
“The terminal operators that were trying to reject us, they later accepted us partially, they said they were going to give me a call today or tomorrow” he said
Tanko however commended the terminal operator in terms of equipment, saying that the forklifts within the terminal, about five of them, are adequate enough to do the job.
Even the terminal is well paved, it was flooded by rain water. Tanko commended the terminal for having an expanse space suitable for operations. He however said that the terminal may be overcharging freight forwarders and that the team is set to look into this.
He urged bonded terminal operators and other investors not to see the NAGAFF Compliance team as a threat to their operations, rather, the team is trying to ensure that members are not extorted while following due process at port.
“I was here before, the terminal operators have equipment, they have up to 4 forklifts that are standard, their premises is also okay, but what we are trying to find out is their charges, I have told my members to give me some of their debit notes so that I can see”
“Anybody seeing the compliance team, they think we are enemies, but it is left to us to explain to that person that we are not enemies, we are only trying to do the right thing. Even some of our members would fight this team because they are benefitting from doing the wrong thing” Tanko said
The NAGAFF Compliance Team is going on 3-days tour of all bonded terminals including ; MidMaritime Terminals; Sifax Offdock terminal at Trinity, Mile 2 Car Park and Sapid 1.
The team would also be visiting Sifax 1 and 2 and Classic Bonded Terminals at Amuwo- Odofin and Okota road.
Others are; AML, Sapid and Clarion Bonded Terminals opposite Trade Fair Abule Osun bus stop.