By DAPO OLAWUNI
Freight Forwarders at the Apapa port are seriously feeling the brunt of the ongoing leadership crisis within the fold of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) even as the association as well as other sister associations have been chased out of the popular APM Terminal platform inside Apapa port.
Recall that the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG Maritime) had reportedly written a letter to all shipping companies and terminal operators that nobody should associate with anyone under the name ANLCA.
Following the crisis at the Tin Can Island Port Chapter of ANLCA where a prominent member, Mr Wale Cole was matcheted and almost lost his live, the police had ordered that all ANLCA Secretariats be shutdown.
Before now, the ANLCA, acting as the big sister to all freight forwarding association’s, entered an understanding with NPA, Nigeria Customs and APM Terminals which facilitated a dedicated space within the APM terminal where it’s members usually seat and relax in the course of clearing their cargoes.
Apart from this, a container space was also allocated to the associations where they carryout photocopying of documents and printing cargo clearance materials, in order to make their job easier.
However, DAILY TREND gathered that the freight forwarders have now been dislodged from the popular APMT platform because they no longer speak in one voice.
Apart from these, there was an earlier security report that hoodlums were sleeping over inside the port, especially at the same APM Terminal platform inside Apapa port.
Acting on this security report, the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had recently prohibited anybody from staying over in the port setting up tables within the terminal.
But, because ANLCA is embroiled in leadership crisis, other sister associations have not demonstrated enough strength to prevail on the terminal operators, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Customs Service to retain their abode inside the port.
Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday, Task Force Chairman of Apapa Chapter of ANLCA, Mr Frank Aliakor lamented that the freight forwarders are now being dehumanized at the port.
“Do you believe we do not seat anywhere to do our business at the port because our association had issues at the port.
“I told you that Mr Tony Iju (ANLCA former President) caused a lot of damage to ANLCA, his clueless administration which polarized ANLCA to a fighting association has resulted in the government and other stakeholders ridiculing us now and other sister association’s, it has never been like this.
“Also, some sister association also thought that because ANLCA had problems, they can start making careless statement, these are what landed us where we are today.
Prior to this time, Mr Aliakor said the associations had been engaging the port authorities for a space to accommodate; 4 photocopying vendors, 4 food vendors, 8 POS operators and two container spaces for the four various associations
Aliakor however lamented that the the container space that supposed to be given to the associations have now been allocated to the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON)
According to him the associations held a meeting at the platform and made recommendations which was passed to NPA to forward it to APMT and the Nigerian police.
He said that the freight forwarders were at the verge of clinching their demands when the attack on the Tin Can Island Chapter Secretariat of ANLCA occured last month and the authorities reneged in their recommendations.
In a separate interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Chairman of Wealthy Honey Nigeria Limited, Dr Kayode Farinto stated that posterity would judge everyone who had a part to play in the crisis that rocked the association for the past four years.
Dr Farinto said “The present situation is that the customs now have a field day, and I have said it several times that there are external factors that were fueling the crisis in ANLCA for them to have their way, this is why we are where we are today
“The younger agents are now suffering, but posterity would judge everybody on the role they have played in the crisis”
He disclosed that the injured member of the ANLCA at Tin Can Port, Mr Wale Cole has been discharged, and that he is recuperating very well.