…ANLCA Leader Blasts Farinto, NAGAFF Compliant Team for Blackmailing Customs Officers
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The leader of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in the West, Sir John Oforbike has threw his weight behind the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) saying that he has performed well in office as a customs boss.
Oforbike in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS blasted the ANLCA Vice President, Dr Kayode Farinto, as well as the Compliant Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) as people allegedly blackmailing and intimidating customs officers into submission.
Recall that Dr Farinto had called for the sack of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali and his management team for lack of professionalism.
In a recent statement issued in Lagos, Farinto accused the Customs Service of killing the already ailing economy of Nigeria, saying that the service is retrogressing under its current Comptroller General, Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd)
But speaking in a chat with our correspondent, Sir John Oforbike alleged the ANLCA Vice President is a “revenue risk” to customs service, and that he is just trying to be noticed.
“Farinto is a tape recorder, it is only when he makes noise that people recognise him, and it is when he blackmail that he is recognised”
“He did the same thing during the time of Inde Dikko and he was handcuffed and dealt with, his license was blocked, I was among those that intervened”
“A pot cannot call a kettle black, has he done restitution of all what he grabbed illegally? If he is talking, he is doing so to frighten the customs”
“This CGC of customs is a military man but he has tried, he was a very straight forward person when he worked in the army, he has a very good record, and President Buhari brought him, knowing his past record, and the man has performed as a CG of Customs”
“After the oil, the Federal Government have been getting their revenue from the customs, and yet, you are saying that they should sack the CG, have you seen anybody changing the winning team?
“It is not the uniform that does the job, but the integrity in you. The CG of Customs, Hameed Ali is a man of honour, go and check his records as a military man, his officers are working hard and achieving results, and Farinto is there calling for his sack”
“Farinto is only trying to be noticed, people should go and dig up the profile of Farinto, he is not even supposed to be given a license to operate, he is a revenue risk. Ask him, has he travelled to America before? He can only travel to Malaysia or Indonesia”
According to Oforbike, under the present customs management, all the loopholes of corrupt practices in the service have been blocked.
He added that even if the corrupt practices have not been blocked totally, the customs deserve to be given a pass mark
“They have been exceeding their revenue target from time to time, and you are saying they should be sacked, calling them names so that you can be noticed.
“In the first place, Farinto is not supposed to be talking, where is his President? For what he said against the CG the last time, he was issued a query by his president, he is a man that is overly ambitious.
“Customs should use their intelligence network to profile Farinto and other agents to see the type of work they do. It is the customs I am blaming, they have the mechanism to look at somebody’s record and blacklist that license and prosecute the person within the law.
“The customs does not import anything, agents are the ones doing the bad jobs, it is unfortunate” he said
Speaking on the activities of the compliance team of NAGAFF and their activities at the port, Sir John Oforbike alleged that these group of people are majorly existing to harass and intimidate customs officers into submission.
The ANLCA leader urged customs management to look into these groups of people and deal with them squarely.
According to him,Customs officers are now living under constant fear of being blackmailed.
“Some group of people have formed themselves into a compliance team, they now tell a customs officer, a revenue officer, that you want them to comply with rules and regulations, are you not a mad man?
“If you want to ensure compliance, go to the importers, the traders, invite them and educate them on the need to have best practice acceptable globally”
“They formed themselves into a group, intimidating customs officers into submission, it is so unfortunate”
Offorbike said the NAGAFF team is only having a field day because of the leadership crisis in ANLCA.
According to him, ANLCA had inaugurated its task force to address some of these anomalies in the port, but because of the existing crisis in the association, ANLCA President; Tony Iju had written to all stakeholders not to recognise the task force.
While speaking on the modus operandi of the NAGAFF Compliant Team, Oforbike said they usually engage in “name dropping” to frighten officers.
“They have no single client, but they position themselves such that any freight forwarder with a bad job would approach them to speak with customs on their behalf. Everyday you see them in customs office extorting officers”
“They drop names of DCG’s, when they go to a place, they would put the name of a senior officer on a particular number, when they approach the officer on desk, they would show him the phone in order to put fear in his mind”
“Name dropping is an organised crime, it is to put fear into customs officers”
“I am not telling you that there is no corruption in the system, in the entire country, there is corruption, even at the highest level of governance, it is not peculiar with customs alone. If you are calling on sack of officers, it takes two to tango” he said