Uproar At Nigerian Ports Over NAGAFF Compliance Team’s Planned Involvement in Cargo Examination

…Shippers, Agents Reject Team, Say
We Dont Need Any Illegal Compliance Team


The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has ran into murky waters over its recent directive to its 100% Compliance Team to join other regulatory agencies during cargo examination at Nigerian Ports and supervise the process.

Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam last week charged the members of the 100% Compliance Team to brace up and ensure they are always at the cargo examination bays as observers.

Aniebonam who was addressing members of the team who had just concluded intensive and comprehensive trainings, charged them to ensure proper physical examination of cargoes at the nation’s seaports; and if ever infractions were noted, then officially write and deliver such observations to the appropriate quarters.

Meanwhile stakeholders have kicked against the move, describing itas an affront on the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Nigeria Customs Service and other constituted government agencies.

Speaking on the development Cordinator of Save Nigeria Importers, Exporters and Freight Forwarders Coalition, Dr Osita Chukwu warned that the actions of the NAGAFF team in recent times would end up creating chaos and problem in the Nigerian port system.

He lampoon NAGAFF, saying that members of the compliance team are not even genuine freight forwarders with clearing licences.

He urged the Nigerian Shippers Council to nip the NAGAFF and its compliance team in the bud, otherwise, all other freight forwarding associations would rise up and also be getting involved in cargo examination.

Speaking, he said “The compliance team are not Customs officers, they are just agents like us, so how can they be participating in cargo examination, the agent is already in the examination bay, so why should a compliance team of an association be getting involved, meanwhile we have several associations”

“Anybody that has cargoes to be examined should go into the port and watch his own, let the NAGAFF people not go against the principles and procedures by which the CEMA Act has already established, some of us have associations of our own too”

“They should not digress from the originality of their set up, they should not disturb anybody, otherwise, all of us would fall out, it doesn’t cost anything for us to have our own compliance team”

“They are not government organisation or agency, they should remain in their secretariat, they have right to protest if customs is not doing the well”

“Most of them in the compliance team, I dont think they have jobs, some of them are not even freight forwarders, let them come and show us their license they are using to clear cargo”

“Let Customs go to industrial court and stop all this compliance nonsense they are doing, government has not set up anything like that, which law permits them?

Also kicking against the plan by NAGAFF, the Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) warned NAGAFF to concern itself with challenges facing freight forwarders in clearing cargoes at the port, and not to compound it by moving to the examination bay.

President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicole lamented that importers and Shippers are being targeted by the Federal Government Agencies for extreme punishments and getting extorted.

He revealed that, already, the Shippers Association is very concerned and it is mobilising to send Intervention Team into the Ports to protect her members.

“We do not want any of the Importers or Shipper to be a target by illegal compliant Team when the Port Ecocomic Regulators are still in existence” he warned.

Continuing, he said “No Freight Forwarder is empowered by law to take regulatory role. Therefore, we want all the Freight Forwarding Associations to join the Shippers to collaborate and solve the Port problems one by one”

According to him, there is no consignment cleared in all the Ports without parting with some sought of under table payment to Nigeria Customs.

“All Freight Forwarders are expected to Team up with our Intervention Team to check mate excesses of Government Agencies. Much as we appreciate the effort of our Freight Forwarders, they have done great jobs in the past, we do not subscribe to further harassment from our own Freight Forwarding outfits, with the exception of the approved Economic Port Regulators”

“The 100% Compliance Team of Freight Forwarders Associations should have focused their Compliance campaign to the unbridled actions of the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service double handling of Customs Assessments of Shippers cargo”

On his part, Chairman of Apapa chapter of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Mr. Dom Onyeka said it was a wrong thought for NAGAFF to demand to supervise customs activities at the examination bay.

According to him, “You cannot invlove an agent in another agent’s cargo, the NAGAFF Compliance Team are made up of agents, some of them are nobody, they are not even informed, so on what basis are they coming to participate in examination of cargoes?

“It is an unreasonable demand for anybody to start doing the work of Nigeria Customs.
The customs are world trained in goods examination, but for another freight forwarders body to now say they want to supervise customs in doing their extant job, I dont see the wisdom”

“It is dead on arrival, there is no need for that kind of thought”

Also, there has been some unsubstantiated allegation of extortion against the NAGAFF Compliance Team. It was alleged that the team was blackmailing customs for money at some bonded terminals.

On this, Cordinator of the team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim has debunked these allegations, describing them as unfounded.

Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations of NAGAFF Team blackmailing customs officers, the Apapa Chairman of ANLCA said “I was at Denca Bonded Terminal sometime ago, and they said NAGAFF 100 Compliance Team was trying to extort money, the PRO of Denca also said it is wrong for them to come to their terminal”

“I was also at a terminal somewhere, when an officer said the compliance team demanded for certain amounts of money, that when they were not given the money, they started framing up lies against Customs”

“On this, we have not heard the side of NAGAFF to know the true story”

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