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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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Segun Musa
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Farinto urges Customs brokers to mobilise 5m votes for  presidential candidate who is freight forwarders- friendly

Kayode Farinto, Ag, Pre4sident, ANLCA
Eyewitness reporter
Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has enjoined freight forwarders to use their votes to bring in a government that has a passion for the welfare of freight forwarders in Nigeria.
The ANLCA chieftain made this call Monday in his May Day/ Sallah message to the freight forwarders confraternity.
Farinto, who bemoaned the harassment and intimidation the freight forwarders are being subjected to under the outgoing government in terms of multiple charges, levies and extortions, urged the oppressed customs brokers to use their PVCs to bring in a presidential candidate who will end the misery and sufferings of freight forwarders.
Consequently, he asked that the freight forwarders should mobilise at least five million votes in the maritime industry for a presidential candidate among the legion of contenders who will work for the welfare of customs brokers.
“The inconsistency in government policies is an eye-opener and we will enjoin our members to give the over five million votes in the industry to a presidential candidate that will be explicit on how to assist the Freight forwarding profession viz a viz implementation of people’s welfare policies their support and endorsements come 2023.
Farinto said the present government has shown a lack of empathy for the suffering and harassed freight forwarders who are even overburdened with all manner of charges in the face of an economic crunch.
“We won’t allow anyone to fool us like this outgoing government is doing.
“We are gradually losing our profession to foreign domination courtesy of lack of law that will protect indigenous practitioners”, he lamented.
While urging the freight forwarders to brace up for the reintroduction of the revised Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy this month, the ANLCA Chief warned them to be on their guard against people who may wish to compromise the process to the detriment of freight forwarders.
“Let me commence by saying that, it is obvious that the NCS will be implementing the VIN VALUATION this month, going by the news filtering around us in the industry and we need to monitor this because people will not want the process to be successful may introduce things outside our agreement into the procedures”
“I have released the agreed procedures on clearance of Standard Chassis vehicles that fall within VIN valuation and Non-Standard chassis vehicles,salvage, and accidented vehicles a few days ago.
 “We need to allow these new changes going by all we go through in the hands of customs various units to clear vehicles in the ports”
He recounted the horrific process of a clearance procedure, especially of vehicles, which he said is laced with extortions by the Customs
 “Even when you take your valuation, many alerts are put on our declarations and it takes the grace of God and difficult conditions to get them out of the ports.
“As if that is not enough, you need to know the numbers of calls we receive from our members delivering these vehicles within and outside the Lagos environment.
“Many customs units will say, your values are compromised, it must be jacked up and many of us are at their mercies pleading that DN should not be issued on already exited vehicles.
“This and many more things are what we believe The VIN valuation will eliminate.
“Many agents have been given forged and mutilated valuation papers by the third parties and are left to suffer the consequences of whatever happens.
“We do not need all this to get our vehicles released and we promise to challenge any command that may want to use the office of monitoring to extort money from our members when this new process commences.
The ANLCA Acting President also promised that the controversial issue of the National Automotive Council (NAC) 15 percent level will be pursued to its logical conclusion through the involvement of the national assembly and the instrumentality of the soon to be inaugurated Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“The issue of 15 percent NAC turn levy will be pursued vigorously immediately after the Sallah break
because we will engage the National Assembly on the need for them to know that, this government is not sensitive to the plight of the masses to have introduced a levy at this period when the economy is in comatose.
” And we will also ensure that the Federal Ministry of Finance is dragged before the people’s representatives on this matter.
“Since the CRFFN governing council may also be inaugurated this week, it will be our first issue to be raised at the plenary which needs urgent national attention.
“All our efforts to eliminate NAC turn levy is being done in collaboration with the motor dealers association”
Farinto however said that before these lofty objectives of the leadership of the freight forwarders could be achieved, the members of the confraternity must be united to achieve their common goal.
“We must however come together to achieve greatness. An injury to one should be an injury to all” he declared.
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