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Freight Monitor

Freight Forwarders raise alarm over containers broaching at Apapa port examination bay

Eyewitness reporter
Freight Forwarders plying their trade at the Apapa port have expressed concerns over the alarming rate of container broaching and cargo theft at the  Customs’ examinations bay at the APM Terminals, Apapa.
Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, the Co-ordinator of 100 percent compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who ventilated the aggregate feelings of concerned freight forwarders, enjoined all the stakeholders, especially the security agencies, to rise up and nip the rising threat in the bud before it escalates to unimaginable proportion.
Alhaji Tanko, who was briefing the press on the outcome of the security meeting he convened with the relevant agencies and other players in the industry, revealed a lot of anomalies that characterise the process of cargo examination at the Apapa port.
According to him, apart from losing their cargo to “wharf rats”, importers are also losing their goods to indiscriminate sampling by agencies at the ports.
“We are losing a lot of money as a result of sampling. Almost all the agencies, Customs, NDLEA, DSS, labour take samples while it is the duty of NAFDAC and SON that officially has the right to take sample items after which they are returned to their owners and there are procedures for sampling. This is what we are suffering here”, he lamented.
Tanko explained the covert ways port urchins pilfer cargo at the examination bay, especially those seized and kept by Customs.
“There are number of times the containers seized by Nigeria Customs Service, kept at the designated area, were broken by these wharf rats, carted away with the cargoes especially, banned substance like Tramadol” Tanko claimed.
“There is a need to reduce crowd at the Examination Bay.
“We observed that about 50 – 60 people sleep in APMT platform.
“One day, a freight forwarder was traced from the platform to his house and in the process,  the police investigations showed the suspect was one of those who sleep on that platform.
“The APM Terminal is not a sleeping place nor a football field. Those doing that should stop

“Everybody has a role to play both the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, DSS and others.

” APM Terminal are not the owners of the port, rather partners. Since the platform housing Customs offices now belong to Customs as I am made to understand,  Customs should then take charge”, the NAGAFF National Vice-President, declared.
Tanko disclosed that all the stakeholders who attended the security meeting at the instance of the NAGAFF compliance team were unanimous in their determination to work together to stamp out the menace.
According to him, the Area Comptroller of Apapa command, Alhaji Ibrahim Yusuf Malanta, stated that his Command had already taken steps to reduce the crowd by introducing Customs permit tag for Customs examination officers.
Malanta, according to Tanko, added that Customs officers who are to conduct examinations of containers cannot access the bay without the tag which will have the officers’ picture and name.
The Customs’ helmsman reportedly said the command had also created tags for clearing agents whose consignments had been positioned for examination, as well as placed enforcement officers to secure the platform.
Also speaking at the security meeting, the Chief Security Officer (CSO), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who represented the agency, on his part, reportedly reiterated the need for proper and effective issuance of the permit as well as calling for the setting up of Joint Security Night Patrol which will involve Customs, Police and Compliance Team to fish out the criminals.

The President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju through his representative, reportedly lauded the initiative of the NAGAFF compliance team but however blamed the security agents for the security lapses at the port.

The Port Police, on their part, was said to have denied any knowledge of the incidents, claiming no report had been formerly brought to their knowledge.

The police representative however commended Tanko for the laudable initiative and assured of the readiness of the port police to swing into action in a bid to curb the rising security threat.

Those who attended the meeting included The CAC, Apapa Command, Controller Yusuf Malanta, The Port Police Commissioner,
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) represented by the Chief Security Officer, The DSS, Mekura, the Contractor of Labour, the President Of Maritime Labour, APMT, NAGAFF, AREFFN, while ANLCA, Council of Managing Directors were absent.

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Freight Monitor

ANLCA seeks speedy digitalisation process of Nigerian ports for enhanced efficiency, revenue generation

The Eyewitness reporter
The High Command of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has enjoined the federal government to speed up the digitalisation process of Nigerian ports that will enhance service delivery, efficiency and revenue generation.
Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the association, in his goodwill message to all maritime stakeholders on this year’s Maritime day celebration, noted that the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day ” New Technologies for Greener Shipping” is apt as it aligns with the campaign of the ANLCA on port automation and seamless operations.
“For us in ANLCA and in line with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) conventions, applying new technologies will simplify port processes, reduce conflicts and corruption and increase Government revenue.
“We however appeal to the Federal government and its agencies operating in the ports to speed up the port digitalization process.
” This,  we believe, will reduce conflicts, promote business and make Nigerian ports competitive, and user-friendly,  while promoting International trade and investment in the Nigerian maritime sector.
“No doubt the world is going digital with the application of new technologies to boost and facilitate trade.
” Again,  the application of new technologies will improve our ease of doing business index and make our ports really a hub and destination in the sub-region ” Farinto admonished.
He however used the platform for the goodwill message to admonish his members on the need to be law abiding and shun any temptation to take the law into their hands despite what he described as provocations arising from the present crisis in the association.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank our members who are law-abiding and salute their determination to stay on the part of the law, despite provocations from certain quarters.
“We want to assure them that this present NECOM will not do anything aside from what is contained in the  ANLCA’s supreme constitution no matter the level of provocation, as doing otherwise will result in anarchy.
“I also appeal to our members to be vigilant and not to be disturbed by some insinuations, fake and speculative reports perpetrated by our expelled/aggrieved members on some social media platforms about Police and CRFFN purported blame of NECOM in the settlement process by the two Organisations.
” Again,  as usual, that was the handiwork of liars who use unethical practicing media persons in the maritime Industry to deceive the general public for sympathy.
“For the avoidance of doubt, none of the two agencies have finalized their reports and even at that, in the settlement of the matter, the ANLCA’s constitution is the basis, because that is the legal instrument of the association and not what people say or think.
“Once again, I want to appeal to our members to always seek the path of peace and togetherness, even in the course of our differences.
“Let’s shun destruction and bickering and join our efforts together to build a new ANLCA for the betterment of all members”
Farinto also enjoined his members to brace up for the forthcoming NECOM elections of the association, urging them to be more active in the political process of the group.
” I want to urge all our members to reignite their political instincts for the association’s NECOM election coming up soon as the Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) will soon open the floor of activities for the next NECOM election.
” Let’s pull our energies towards throwing our hats into the ring to either vote or be voted for, that is the only way a new ANLCA  can emerge’, he declared.
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Freight Monitor

Freight forwarders demand report of probe panel on large scale corruption in  CRFFN 

 

The eyewitness reporter
Agitating freight forwarders have asked the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Sambo, to make public the report of the probe panel that the ministry instituted in 2020 to look into alleged large-scale corruption in the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
 The freight forwarders, under the aegis of Africa Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), recalled in their petition to Engr. Sambo that top management staff of the CRFFN, including the Deputy Director, Finance and Accounts, Dr. Abah George; Head of Internal Audit, Mr. Agor Gideon; Head of Research and Development, Mr. Leo Anigbo; Head of Administration/ Human Resources, Mr. Ben Ojumah; and the Head of Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, petitioned the Chairman of the Governing Council of CRFFN and the Ministry of Transportation in August 20th, 2020 over unprecedented corruption charges and mindless misappropriation of funds of the council by its Registrar, Barr Samuel Nwakohu.
According to the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, in his letter to Engr. Sambo with reference number
APFFLON/HQ/FMT/Vol:2.22, dated 9th of September 2022, the CRFFN Registrar had been accused of serial corruption charges.

Speaking on the alleged misappropriation of funds by the CRFFN’s Registrar, Otunba Ogunojemite said, “The Registrar was alleged of employing 13 ghost workers, seized workers allowances in excess of N15million and other financial misappropriation.

“He was said to have single-handedly organized a fake training for selected CRFFN officials that cost N109million.

” Furthermore, aggrieved members of staff of the Council revealed all these in a petition sent to
the Chairman of the Governing Council of CRFFN and the Ministry of Transportation, as they accused the CRFFN’s Registrar of several financial misappropriations and discrimination against
men.“Following the top issues of serious illegalities raised in the petition, the Transportation Ministry interrogated the CRFFN Registrar and the maritime public demand that the findings of the
Transport Ministry be publicized because we are aware that Mr. Muhiy-deen Awwal, Director, Human Resources Management, Ministry of Transportation headed a Committee that concluded a report on this matter.”

The APFFLON President also raised the alarm over the sharing of the proceeds from the collection of the controversial Practitioners Operations Fee (POF) among only five registered freight forwarding associations in exclusion of other individual and corporate members who also pay this POF.

He appealed to the Minister to intervene and correct what he described as discrimination and injustice before it leads to agitation among those that are being cheated.

“Though the CRFFN Act recognizes three categories of membership; which are associations, corporate bodies and individuals, officials of the Transport Ministry and the CRFFN have over the years, only recognized, visited and engaged CRFFN so-called registered associations without any provision for individual members and corporate bodies.
“It has become worrisome that all CRFFN functions and programs have seen the Council only invite freight forwarding associations, hence, leaving individuals and companies out of the crucial deliberations that affect all membership categories.”

“Presently, the CRFFN has started sharing the proceeds of the Practitioners Operations Fee (POF) with only five registered associations at the rate of N200,000, thereby leaving out the individuals and corporate organizations.

“The associations benefiting are; the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Association of Registered Freight Forwarders (AREFFN); Nigerian Airfreight Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) and National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA)”

He however, pointed out that the above mentioned five associations represent less than 40 percent of the entire freight forwarders in the country.

“It should be noted that individuals and companies pay the said POF, yet there is no platform for these categories of legitimate CRFFN registered individuals and corporate bodies to benefit from the POF that the CRFFN has been sharing among the monopolistic associations parading themselves as registered associations.”

“This continuous marginalization of CRFFN registered individual and corporate members is stoking a high degree of dissent that could evolve into a protest against CRFFN in the nearest future, even as it is a grossly illegal act that would soon land the agency in a litany of litigations”

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Freight Monitor

Freight forwarder cries out over heightened insecurity at Lagos  ports

Ibrahim Tanko

—says miscreants, robbers now invade APMT

— laments high non-compliance among freight forwarders

The Eyewitness Reporter

 

One of the foremost freight forwarders in the maritime industry and the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders( NAGAFF) 100 percent Compliance team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, has raised the alarm about what he described as burgeoning cases of insecurity at the Lagos ports.

According to him, undesirables elements such as robbers, beggars and other social miscreants, have now invaded the ports, sleeping and smoking Indian helms at the terminals.

Tanko, who is also the Vice-President, Western Zone of NAGAFF, made this startling revelation Thursday at the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria(MARAN) round table, a talk- show programme for industry players.

At the programme, Tanko lamented unrestricted access of these criminals into the ports despite the so-called multi-layer security mechanism of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), Nigeria Port Police, the Customs and the terminal operators.

He specifically fingered the AP Mollers Terminal as the worst hit as the terminal has been literally turned into a marketplace.

”I have once written  letters to the Customs Area Controllers at Apapa, Tin Can and PTML commands over this issue but there seems no solution to the problem.

”If you go to the AMPT, Apapa, the place is like a market. There is too much crowd. Yo don’t even know who is who in that place.

”People sleeping and smoking Indian hemp at the APMT. The Terminal has become a haven for criminals and street urchins who molest genuine port operators in the terminal

Tanko further disclosed that these undesirable elements often trail their victims from inside the terminal till they reach outside the port before they strike, dispossessing them of their valuables and in few cases, killing them.

”There was a sad case of an agent who was trailed by these robbers right from inside the APMT terminal till they got outside the port where they robbed and killed him.

”In the process of robbing and killing their victim, the ID card of one of the robbers fell down which the police recovered.

”This led them to the criminal who confessed that they trailed their victim from inside the APMT.

”This shows the level of insecurity at the APMT terminal”, lamented the freight forwarder.

He therefore appealed to the Nigerian Ports police, the NPA and the Customs to tighten security at the ports because, ”as its is now , we are no longer safe doing our business at the ports”

He queried how those who have no business at the port could easily gain access into a place where is supposed to be a restricted area.

On the issue of extortion and harassment of freight foewarders by the Cutoms officers, Tanko blamed the audacity of the Customs to perpetrate this henious act on the high level of non-compliance among his fellow freight forwarders.

Tanko lamented that despite the efforts of the NAGAFF compliance team to stem the tide, non- compliance of freight forwarders to exant laws guiding  cargo clearing process is still very high.

”This issue of non- compliance is affecting genuine freight forwarders. On daily basis, our containers are being seized on the road by various units of Customs.

”Federal Operation Unit(FOU) of Customs , CG strike Force and Customs Police, at different points on the road, harrass and seize our containers.

He said all these atrocious acts are being visited on freight forwarders because they are not doing the right thing.

Tanko said that in as much as he was not holding brief for the Customs or justifying their acts of impunity, he blamed the non-compliant freight forwarders for their woes.

He said no Customs officer will first ask for money but the fright forwarder who refuses to do the right thing will instead induce the officers with money in order to cover his atrocities.

The NAGAFF chieftain declared that despite the appeal and campaign of his compliance team, which they started two years ago, the level of compliance among the freight agents is still less than 30 percent.

He said the benefits for doing the right thing far outweigh cutting the corners ”as nobody will be able to extort or harrass you, neither will they be able to seize your containers”.

”If you make correct declaration and pay correct duties, nobody will be able to extort you, harrass you, threaten you with Demand Notice or even seize your containers. You will go home and sleep soundly.

”You could even sue them if they dare seize your container in error”, Tanko admonished.

Tanko lamented that those of them in the compliance team are being witch-hunted, threatened and branded as enemies and saboteurs.

He however enjoined freight forwarders to always do the right things in order to safe themselves from the incessant harassment of the Customs officers.

 

 

 

 

 

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