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Truck owners accuse NPA of usurping economic powers of Shippers’ council 

Bello-Koko, Ag. NPA MD
— threaten to go to court over extortions in ETO regime
Eyewitness reporter

Agitated members of Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA), who are basically maritime truck owners, have accused the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), of flagrant usurpation of the economic powers of Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC) through the activities of NPA- licensed Truck Transit Park operators (TTP).

Their accusations followed what they described as mindless extortion of truck drivers and owners by the operators of the park under the E Call- up System at the ports.
The truck owners, who have served the NPA management of their intentions to contest this anomaly at the court through their Counsel, Ebun -Olu Adegboruwa, alleged that NPA has disobeyed the executive order of the federal government vesting economic regulation of the Nigerian Ports in the hands of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
“There is an existing Presidential Executive Order vesting economic regulation of the Nigerian Ports in the hands of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, thereby making economic activities of your office(NPA) illegal”
Meanwhile, the truck owners, in their notice of intention to commence a suit against NPA in pursuant to section 92 (1) of NPA act cap 126LFN, 2004 by the solicitor of COMTUA, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), said contrary to the intent and purpose of TTP which was meant to eradicate payment checkpoints, there has been a proliferation of illegal checkpoints along the terminal routes with attendant extortion of the sum of N5000 per checkpoints.
The agitated truckers, through their legal representative, Adegboruwa, said despite the mutual agreement of the sum of N10,000 payable for an entry permit into the terminal, TTP extorts a whooping sum of N31,250.

The Counsel to the truck owners said “Our client reliably informed us of certain developments and unfair activities in the maritime sector for which countless letters of complaint have been written but serially ignored by your office and other concerned offices such as the office of the Lagos State Government.

” Some of the disturbing facts which were reliably disclosed that there have been reported cases of discrepancies and misrepresentation of facts and figures emanating from the electronic call-up regime created by Truck Transit Park Ltd on the instruction and directives of your office, the Nigerian Port Authority.

“Our client is vehemently disputing the cost and value of the services being rendered by ETO/TTP as there have been cases of extortions and breach of agreement on the part of your office.

” That it was mutually agreed that the sum of N10,000 was payable for booking process as entry permit into the terminal but TTP now extorts a whooping sum of N31,250.

“Contrary to the intent and purpose of TTP which was meant to eradicate payment checkpoints, there has been a proliferation of illegal checkpoints along the terminal routes with attendant extortion of the sum of N5000  per checkpoints.

“That despite assurances to the contrary, members of our client now pay outrageous sums ranging from N50,000  to N150,000 to return empty containers at the authorized holding bay.

“That there have been cases of connivance and abuse of office by the holding bay operators and some agencies of the Government who would arrest and impound our client’s members’ trucks so as to illegally extort money from them and the continuous harassment and extortion of our client often lead to further arrests and detention of our client’s members by clearing agents on container demurrage.”

“That the initial arrangements that trucks would move from the satellite parks to the pre-gate and then into the terminal within the period of two days have not been realized as trucks take more than weeks to move into the terminal from the satellite parks.

“The initial arrangement to install Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) to monitor the movement of trucks into the terminal to ensure speedy movement of vehicles and other purposes has not been affected by TTP.”

“There has been a consistent violation of movement procedures and illegal parking of trucks on the express road by some preferred truck drivers of which modus operandi are antithetical to the aim and purpose of the Electronic Call Up Regime.

“That the effort and intervention of the Honourable Minister of Transportation in setting up of the Ministerial Steering and Implementation Committee to proffer solutions associated with the ease of doing business at the Apapa/Tincan Island Port has been defeated with attendant cases of greed, extortions, harassment of truck drivers, robberies and total collapse of the accessible road networks.”

“On the other hand, the involvement and activities of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) and the Lagos State Committee on Abandoned and Disused Vehicles headed by the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Transport, Mr. Toyin Fayinka is regrettably inimical to the legitimate activities of the truck drivers.”

However, the NPA authority is yet to make an official reaction to the legal threat by the truck owners.
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Customs

Freight Forwarders applaud Customs over new VIN valuation

—- as reworked policy comes on stream Friday
Eyewitness reporter
In a rare show of satisfaction and mutual agreement, the highly critical freight forwarders have applauded the Nigeria Customs Service over the new Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy.
The new vehicle valuation, which was first introduced about two months ago, was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values it placed on vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority which thereafter reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
At the second stage of the demonstration and sensitization of stakeholders on the new VIN valuation held at the Apapa Customs command Thursday, the freight Forwarders were full of praises for the customs over the improved valuation system which they all agreed has addressed and accommodated their views.
“This is very good. The new VIN valuation system has accommodated all our observations, even though there is room for improvement.
“It has taken care of the savage vehicles and accidented vehicles, which the first VIN didn’t consider”, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and one of the most critical voices of the system, said.
Earlier, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, who is the host, enjoined the stakeholders to take full advantage of the automated system which he said would make goods clearance procedure seamless and faster.
While welcoming the stakeholders to the sensitization meeting, Comptroller Yusuf urged them to be compliant with the extant guidelines to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the new system.
He assured them help desk would be created in each of the commands to help resolve the teething problems that are bound to crop up, adding that there would be continuous engagement and improvement on the new valuation policy.
He told the appreciative stakeholders that the VIN valuation policy is irreversible and will be deployed this Friday, May 20th, 2022.
Comptroller Festus Okun, the Customs Area Controller of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command said the Customs, through the VIN valuation, has imbibed basic principles of taxation which include predictability, neutrality, simplicity, and efficiency.

Comptroller Kunle Oloyede of Tin Can Island Port,  described VIN as a platform for robust gathering of statistical analysis and data for national economic purposes relying on the template of accuracy that will further integrate NCS with other ministries, departments and agencies.

Comptroller Hammi Swomen of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, who sought more cooperation from all stakeholders, stated that sincere declarations without tampering with relevant information contained in Single Goods Declaration or mismatching information will aid in quicker clearance and seamlessness of the VIN system.

Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.

He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accidented vehicles.

He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accidented, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.

However, Farinto called for true declaration and compliance on the part of freight forwarders. w2hivh he said will facilitate their clearance of goods and also made the Customs to introduce more changes such as auto release for used vehicles.

Comptroller Yusuf promised that the issue of auto release of used vehicles, which is not yet accommodated in the new system, will be looked into by the Customs High Command.
The new improved VIN valuation policy has therefore addressed most of the major concerns of stakeholders who said they couldn’t wait to start using the system.
The new system has been given a human face as the assessed values are adjudged as fair and the process transparent by the freight forwarders.
It has also considered the two options of salvage vehicles and accidented vehicles.
It is harmonisation and unification of all the hitherto isolated different values at the commands.
According to Comptroller Udenze, the new VIN valuation considers all the variants and series of all vehicles.
The technological system, which is expected to promote trade facilitation, has also been amended to reflect the reduction in the value of vehicles..

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Foreign

U.S. picks 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship

US President, Joe Biden
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Headlines

Prophet Akinpelu calls  for Southeast presidency

Prophet Oludele Akinpelu,

 

—condemns  criminal silence of politicians on Deborah’s death

Adebayo Obajemu

Popular prophet, Oludele Akinpelu, the presiding pastor of Living God Freedom Church  Àlagbado, has urged the political class to play by the rules and allow equity and justice to have a foothold, saying that it was time for the political system to allow for the president of Igbo extraction.

He made this call in a press release at the end of his annual 41- day of prayers and fasting.
The popular prophet noted for prophetic utterances which normally come to pass added that for the sake of equity and fairness, the Southeast of the country should be allowed to produce the next president of the country.
” For the sake of equity and justice, I urge all presidential contenders from all parts of the country in all the parties to withdraw for Southeast candidates who will then sort themselves out in the primary.
” A nation can not survive if it is built on injustice, honestly, my heart is with the people of the southeast on the issue of the 2023 presidential ticket.
” And I know I’m not alone in this. Pa Ayo Adebanjo expressed a similar sentiment. That’s the way to go if this country must survive.”
He also condemned politicians for not speaking out in the case of Deborah Samuel, who was murdered by fellow students at the Shehu Shagari College of Education for allegedly making derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.

” We must condemn jungle justice, if the lady had done something wrong let the court of competent jurisdiction decides.

“The two religions – Islam and Christianity have respect for the sanctity of human life, so I can’t understand where the murderers got their inspiration.
“Even the respected Sheikh Gumi said as much that Prophet Mohammed was insulted severally but he didn’t do anything harmful to his traducers.
“We must be guided by respect for law in our action.”
 The respected prophet urged the political class to put their house in order and do the needful to take the country out of economic hardship, insecurity, and pervasive poverty that pervade the land, warning that God’s anger is on those bent on sponsoring crises and insecurity in the country.

He  declared that “unless politicians repent and  seek the face of the Lord, sudden punishment awaits them for bringing the country to a shameful low in the eyes of the international community through their ill-thought-out economic policies, greed, self-aggrandizement and lack of concern for the welfare of citizens who entrusted them with power and representation.”

In his message to Nigerians, he urged the people to repent and seek the path of righteous living, adding that the current insecurity situation in the country calls for concerted prayers on the side of both Christians and Moslems.

It could be recalled that last June in his open-air crusade in Ikare Akoko which attracted over five hundred thousand people, he prophesied that the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic would wane in Nigeria from the first quarters of 2023, he also said that unless fervent prayers were offered, a notable religious leader in Nigeria would die in the first quarters of this year. All the prophecies have since come to pass.

He attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to the activity of forces of darkness who are bent on foisting a sinister agenda on the country, cashing in on poverty and illiteracy to recruit an army of jobless illiterates to carry out their agenda.

He blamed the current administration for not doubling down on countermeasures against bandits, wondering why the administration is reluctant to name individuals fingered as sponsors of banditry, but added that divine punishment awaited those sponsoring insecurity which had led to the loss of lives of innocent citizens of the country.

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