Freight Forwarders Decry Customs Officers’ Involvement In Clearing

Freight Forwarders Decry Customs Officers' Involvement In Clearing
From L-R: Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, Founder, NAGAFF, Chief Osita Okereke, President, IMAN and Mr. Fred Akokia, Deputy President during the signing of the MoU

Four accredited associations under the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) have condemned the involvement of serving Customs Officers in clearing business, a situation which the group claims can only mean doom for the maritime industry in the long run.

The associations which are, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered  Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and Nigerian Association of Air  Freight Forwarders And Consolidators, expressed disapproval at the unrestricted trend.
While making this known to reporters, the President of IMAN, Dr. Osita Okereke noted with dismay that the direct involvement of customs officers into the clearing business was one of the reason there’s corruption in the system, as a lot of illegal and contraband goods get into the country easily.

In his words: “Customs officers issue clearing licenses to themselves and they don’t want to come under the regulation of the freight forwarding body, that is why they jeopardize its effort.”

Speaking further, Dr. okereke used the opportunity to send a clarion call to the Federal Government and the new Controller General Customs (CGC), Rtd. Col. Hammeed Ali, to quickly look into the matter to prevent the cabal within the customs from undermining the president’s anti-corruption drive.

He said, “We call upon the new CGC because he’s a disciplinarian, to look into the matter and find out the officers who want to do business. They should resign and become agents or they should remain in the Customs and leave clearing alone.”

Okereke added that a lot of arms and ammunitions and other contraband that get through the borders into the country, posing health and security risks, could most likely belong to Customs officers.

In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of NAGAFF, Mr. Simeon Nwonu, reiterated that about 80 per cent of agents today are Customs officers whilst many genuine agents have lost their importers to  these officers. Mr. Nwonu therefore insisted that the fight against corruption must be total.

“We must support the anti-corruption crusade because I don’t see how civil servants can be clearing agents. Our lives are not safe.

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