By Frank Odinukaeze
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF,has dissociated itself from eleven of its members currently held in NDLEA cells in connection with importation of illicit drug.
National Chairman of the compliance team Alhaji Tanko stated this today at the Two -Day Workshop on synergy with Nigeria Customs Service NCS, Shipping Companies,Terminal. Operators and Freight Forwarders ,at Rockview Hotel Apapa Lagos,
Alhaji Tanko who disclosed this in an interview with MMSPLUS,stated that the management of the100% compliance team had since the commencement of the process over two years ago been doing everything possible to educate the members against the importation of hard drugs.
“We’ve been trying to enlighten our members on this issue.We started the training from the association of importers ,telling them the need for them to do things the right way.Everybody wants to make money”he said.Stressing that ,”That is why they will allow an importer to use their name and address for importation of goods of which they don’t know the content of the goods.”
He said anyone who wants to do importation should use his name and address
The Compliance Chairman exonerated NAGAFF and the compliance team from any complicity in the drug issue.”We are not involved,and we are not going to involve ourselves in that act Anyone who involves himself in such act should face the full weight of the law”he said.
Speaking on the topic “Port Operations and Supply Chain Efficiency’ at the occasion,former president of NAGAFF Dr.Eugene Nweke,who also doubled as the chairman of the day,noted the relevance and importance of the freight forwarder.
“Freight Forwarder provides a broad array of services such as customs brokerage,trucking ,storage,cargo insurance consolidation,and advisory services.He is a one-stop-shop.Today the freight forwarder has assumed the role and tittle of total logistics”he said.
He took a swipe on the freight forwarders noting that they are not doing enough to improve themselves on the profession.
Dr Nweke said the freight forwarding has transcended the forme ways of freight forwarding.
“We are merely trading.There is no difference between us and traders at Alaba.We must decide to call ourselves professionals on freight forwarding”he stated
He admonished the freight forwarders to always do the right thing so that there would not be need to complain about extortion from the customs.
“No customs officer will extort you if you do the right thing.But when you engage in illegality,then you present yourself for extortion.Becaise illegality is illegality” he submitted.
Turning to the shipping companies,Nweke noted that every shipping company
should have a with holding bay,which is lacking in the shipping companies.
Responding to question on non refund of container deposits,Mrs Nkechi Oni ,from Maersk Line shipping company advanced reasons why freight agents encounter difficulty in getting refunds.She said one of the reasons is the delay and in some cases loss of the container,and in some other cases indebtedness to the shipping company.
In her words “There is no way you can. be holding our money and also our’ Box’ and expect us to give you a refund . Sometimes it takes up to two years or more for them to return our Box.We have our records and when they come we look into our records ”
Earlier in his welcome address,Alhaji Tanko, Chairman of the 100% Compliance Team ,said the objective of the workshop is to foster synergy among the agencies and Stakeholders
“We are here to have synergy with all the agencies and to know what the problem is and why we continue to fight ourselves”he said.
In his goodwill message,the Port Manager of Tim Can Island Port Buba Jubril ,who was represented by the Traffic Manager Mrs Victoria Bola Medupin praised the initiative and hoped it fosters synergy among the agencies for the growth of the industry
Also present at the event are the president of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO),Chief Remi Ogungbemi and other stakeholders.