The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has relented on it earlier scheduled plan to expose the corruption allegations against some senior customs officers in the Tin Can Island Ports (TCIP) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) after a closed door meeting between NAGAFF and the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command.
At the public hearing at NAGAFF Headquarters, the founder of NAGAFF Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said “we made presentations on our grievances, to the CAC Alhaji Jibrin Zakari regarding corruption and the interception of cargo at the port gate after being released by Customs, we insisted that considering the level of controversy trailing the activities of DC Saidu, it will be best if he ceased to be involved in the stopping of containers at the gate even for legitimate reasons, to which the CAC agreed.”
Other allegations Aniebonam said were raised at the meeting includes: the impropriety of appraisal of value by the Area Project Manager (APM) Unit, which should be carried-out by the Valuation Unit; requests for re-routing by DC Scanner; incessant alerts; among others.
He reiterated that NAGAFF made the CAC to understand that they are tired of giving bribe to facilitate cargo clearance adding that issues of the excesses of all corrupt officers like DC Saidu will be made public, “ we may not have the power to prosecute anybody but we have the power to collect information and send it to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
“It is very obvious that it is no longer business as usual because Nigerian people voted for change, so anything that is not working well, we must be an eye to work against corruption in any agency of government that is not living up to its bill. This is not a witch-hunt on Saidu, it is about the Command in general.” He emphasized.
Aniebonam further explained that following the meeting with the CAC who has agreed to look into all the issues raised and tackle them within the command, NAGAFF has decided to hold off the public hearing on the allegations as earlier planned to give room for peaceful dialogue and conflict resolution.
According to the National Chairman, Anti Corruption Committee of NAGAFF, Mr. Increase Uche stated “After the meeting with the CAC, he discovered that the issues bothering on corruption charges against some of his officers especially Deputy Controller (DC) Aliu Saidu, could affect the working of the command. The CAC has promised to organize a stakeholders meeting of all the practitioners in the ports to address and resolve all issues and grievances.
“We have started a process of inquiry and we want to make sure that corruption will no longer be tolerated. In the past we have ignored some of the issues but we have decided to key into the change mantra of the government to make sure that we must contribute our quota to sanitizing the port system of corrupt practices.” He added.