By Ayoola Olaitan
The Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has reiterated that the 100% Compliance team set up by the association is to achieve smooth operations at ports and not witch-hunt government agencies or other associations.
Aniebonam made this known yesterday during a briefing with news men on the activities of the association with emphasis on the Compliance team.
He argued that it had become necessary for the leadership of NAGAFF to clarify issues following controversies generated after the Compliance team’s tour of some bonded terminals carried out last month.
According to him, “the intention of this rebuttal is to correct certain misconceptions that could be read into the report under reference. From the briefing we received from the leadership of the Compliance Team which is at the centre of the ‘controversies’, the visits were largely successful without any serious issue pitting our members against the Nigeria Customs Service or any of its officers”
“As a matter of fact, our findings revealed that no member of NAGAFF ever raised any allegation of arrogance or corruption against any officer of the NCS as was portrayed in the online report and furthermore, no member of our association was directly accused of any unruly behavior”.
Aniebonam stressed that NAGAFF as an association has always seen NCS as an ally and will do everything within the law to ensure that the Service just like other government agencies succeed for the benefit of our great country.
“The reference to a claim that our members accused DC Abang of AML Bonded Terminal of being arrogant and corrupt is very far from the truth. DC Abang is well-known to NAGAFF family and right from his days at Ijora through to his posting as Staff Officer at Apapa terminal, to his meritorious service at the fast-track section until his present assignment as the head of a Bonded Terminal has shown competence, professionalism and diligence.
“As expected of a security zone which the Customs office anywhere and the ports in general represent, there are certain procedures which must be observed before one could go into any of them. So, if certain steps are taken to ensure that the normal procedure is observed in gaining access into any customs premises, that cannot be said to constitute any serious issue involving customs and members of NAGAFF Compliance Team. If the spirit of the new game is compliance with rules and regulations, why should some people create a scene out of efforts to ensure compliance at any customs office or the pors?” Aniebonam queried.
He, however, noted that freight forwarders have had cause to complain about the poor services at some bonded terminals, positing that NAGAFF had deployed various mechanisms to resolve the challenges faced by its members in most terminals.
According to him, “although our genuine gestures were not appreciated as we became objects of blackmail. This will not deter us in doing that which we think is best for the greater good of freight forwarders, the Nigeria Customs Service and indeed, Nigeria as a country”
Aniebonam also assured that that the Compliance team would help Customs in achieving its mandate in the area of revenue generation and smooth business environment at the ports.