By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has urged its members to always endeavour to sign an Indemnity clause with their importers before embarking on clearing of any container.
This warning is coming on the heels of serial drug importations through the ports, and the subsequent raid and arrests by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS exclusively, Secretary of the Tin Can Island chapter of ANLCA, Barrister Michael Imonitie Ovien advised members not to fall prey to antics of unscrupulous importers who are hell bent on sabotaging Nigerian economy.
The ANLCA Scribe noted however that there has always been a cordial relationship existing between the association and the government agencies at the port, including the NPA, Customs, NDLEA and DSS.
He said that many Customs Agents have been caught in the Web of illegal importations because they agreed to lend their clearing license for other third parties to use in clearing cargo.
Speaking, he said “The relationship between ANLCA at Tin Can and other government agencies has been smooth, to the extent that if there is any challenges, the DSS, NDLEA sends letters to us, and we relate back to them immediately.
“There has always been seminars whereby they try to tell the agents not to indulge in most of all these criminal acts, and I believe that any importer that wants to soil any agents name, the importer must be brought to book.
“That’s why you see that the importer does not declare drugs, the agent was only handed the document that “said to contain” not “found to contain”
It is after examination that you can now say “found to contain.
“There is always an Indemnity form, it is left for the agent to draw an Indemnity form with its clients. This would be binding on the authorities
“If the shipping companies are looking for the importer, they come to us first, therefore, it ie the right of every licensed agent to give an indemnity letter to the consignee giving him a job and both of them would sign.
Some agents are doing it, but some are not.
“Many agents so affected are the ones taking over third part jobs, whereby you allow someone else use your license to capture job.
“It is wrong for an agency to declare that he is the consignee, this is where we are having issues. As an agent, you did not travel abroad, you are now putting yourself as consignee and declarant, playing two games at ones.
“Many of our people do this, and we have been telling them to desist from it” Barr Ovien concluded