ANLCA Crisis, Associations’ Leadership Sees Container Transfer Fees Hit N300,000

ANLCA Crisis, Associations' Leadership Sees Container Transfer Fees Hit N300,000
L-R: Vice Chairman, Alliance of Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) Western Zone, Prince Segun Oduntan; Chairman, Sir John Offorbike, former Chairman, ANLCA Apapa Chapter, Olumide Fakanlu and former Chairman, ANLCA Tin Can Chapter, Alh Jamiu Adeyinka during a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday.

By Kenneth Jukpor

The Alliance of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Western Zone has lamented the immense fiscal hardship faced by freight forwarding practitioners in the country with container transfer charges rising to N300,000 per container.

According to the group, the rising costs in the sector is a result of bad leaderships of freight forwarding associations, especially ANLCA, even as the group noted that shipping companies, terminals and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have exploited the disunity among freight forwarding practitioners to their benefits.

The ANLCA Alliance Group led by Sir John Offorbike also condemned the Tony Iju Nwabunike’s ANLCA National Executive Committee (NECOM) for not providing good leadership to address these issues, while positing that the romance with the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) hasn’t been in the interest of practitioners.

His words: “The impunity of shipping companies and terminal operators is being aided by the government. This is because the regulators of these companies are government agencies. I’m a private sector player and ANLCA is a pressure group; but we have an agency like Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC). Isn’t it the duty of Shippers’ Council to regulate shopping companies and protect the interest of Nigerian shippers? Is the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) not saddled with the onus of regulating terminals?”

According to Offorbike, most freight forwarders would have taken the path of peaceful protests and demonstrations but the state of security in the nation and possibility that such activities be hijacked by miscreants makes it an unwise decision presently.

He called on Shippers’ Council and NPA to look into the excesses of shipping companies and terminal operators, even as he noted that the associations have lost the powers to compel these private operators to do the right thing because their leaders have been compromised.

According to him, the cost of transferring containers was pegged at N75,000 for several years when freight forwarders were united and focused on addressing their collective challenges instead of projecting personal gains.

Offorbike, however, expressed dismay at the high level of impunity by the suspended national officers despite a court order restraining all elected NECOM from parading themselves as national and zonal officers.

He said the group’s demand for elections to be conducted into the national officers is to stave off further impunity.

“We are constrained by the absence of a national officers to steer the affairs of the association, to call on the legitimate Board of Trustees led by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha to intervene by appointing or providing leadership in the suspended positions, to stem the tide of despondence amongst members.

“The absence is owing to the Justice Aikawa court order, FHC/L/CS/921, on 26th August 2021, restraining all elected NECOM from parading themselves as National and Zonal Officers, respectively. The regular infringement and flagrant disregard of court orders has pushed us to show as a matter of urgency, the need for caution to avert proscription.

“Should ANLCA continue with this spate of abuses, it would present her to the eyes of the law and the general public as an association of an irresponsible group of persons.

“The Alliance of ANLCA Associates Western Zone do hereby declare that we are no longer comfortable seeing Tony lju Nwabunike led suspended NECOM continue to pelt mud of impunity on our hard- earned reputation.”

Also speaking, a chieftain of the group, Prince Segun Oduntan, dismissed the purported extension of the tenure of the Tony-Iju NECOM, saying the group has lost confidence in the leadership of the President.

Noting that the challenges confronting freight forwarders are increasing amid the conflict in ANLCA, Oduntan proposed the formulation of a new group to be known as ‘All Progressive Grand Alliance in Maritime’ to address core challenges affecting practitioners.

He suggested that the interest of the group should go beyond members of ANLCA, noting that several members of other sister associations are suffering excruciatingly whereas their leaders are getting benefits from shipping coys and terminal operators.

Speaking on the sharing formula of 6-6-1-1-1 for the Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), he said the sharing ratio is a desperate move to seize control of CRFFN but the group wouldn’t allow it.

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