…Says its a Ploy to Collect Bribe from Shipping Companies
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in the Western Zone have condemned the proposed withdrawal of services by a section of Nigerian freight forwarders, saying that it is all a ploy to blackmail shipping companies and terminal operators into submission.
The ANLCA members stated this last week in Lagos through their leader, Sir John Oforbike who stated the association members are not in support of any discussion or pact going on between the compliance team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) headed by Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim and some ANLCA leaders.
Recall that the freight forwarders had earlier issued a two weeks notice which expired last weekend to the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to address their challenges or else they would withdraw their services.
Some of the challenges highlighted by the operators included extortion by shipping companies, collection of arbitrary charges and challenges of returning empty containers.
But speaking at a press briefing last week, Oforbike said the ANLCA leaders and definitely the NAGAFF Compliance team do not have the mandate of the generality of freight forwarders to embark on any strike.
“They are threatening to lock up the port and picket shipping companies, but they don’t have the strength, what they are doing is to force the shipping companies and terminal operators to come and bribe them
“They don’t have the strength or whatever it takes to picket any shipping company, it is not possible because they have soiled their hands. What you are seeing them doing is just a deceit, when they go back, they demand for bribes”
“Bad leadership got the freight forwarding industry to the point where it is today.
Go to the shipping companies, terminal operators and the customs and find out, the so called leaders have sold the mandate given to them by their people, they are going to terminal operators to collect money in each container being transferred”
“The transfer charge back then was N75,000 and we fought it to a standstill, but now, transfer charges is 300,000 per container.
They are going everywhere to collect money and intimidating people”
“Some group of people who believe they know how to do propaganda, they said they have formed a compliance team, go and find out those behind the compliance team, are they a compliant people?
“Most of the cargoes seized from the port, who are the owners? Who cleared them? It is the duty of customs to verify your documents from the traders zone, but you are now going to where customs are doing their work to blackmail them” he said
While criticising the NAGAFF Compliance Team leadership, the ANLCA leader stated that “Today, you will see a trader, an illiterate moving with a group of four armed police men, where did he get the money from?
“Today, some people who called themselves our leaders have compromised. You saw ANLCA going to National Assembly and calling customs names, what caused it? It is because the customs refused to be intimidated and that they are not giving a dime to anybody, so, they vowed that they would expose customs” he said