By Kenneth Jukpor
Amid the stir caused by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team at the ports, its Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko has said the team would up the ante in enforcing compliance in 2021.
Tanko, who was speaking during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus, stressed that the activities of the team so far, have been an introduction and creating awareness about the need to comply with proper trade procedures and processes.
According to him, the team was working towards having members at all port terminals and bond terminals to scrutinize the activities of operators, government agencies as well as freight forwarders.
His words: “Compliance Team is trying to ensure our members are evenly distributed across the bonded terminals and port terminals. We have done sensitization with all the bonded terminals in Lagos and we’re hoping to do same in all port terminals before January 2021. By January 2021, the activities of NAGAFF Compliance Team would take a completely different style.”
“Several people have already started lamenting that this Team’s activities is causing trouble at the ports but we haven’t begun any form of enforcement. We have only done introduction and awareness sensitization. However, if the activities at the ports and bonded terminals continue next year, people will see the real powers of the Compliance Team.”
He assured those resisting the transparency and compliance drive of the team that not even his death would stop the call for sanity and positive changes at the ports.
“Most people think that their problem at the ports is Tanko, but that’s not true. As we have seen with the EndSARS protests, Nigerians are tired of business as usual, especially when it is costing them severely. If Tanko dies today, this idea of the Compliance Team would continue because another person would rise up to continue it. Most people are tired of this system of cutting-corners and corruption. Several people actually want to push for this reform but they doesn’t have the opportunity or platform. If Tanko leaves the scene, someone else would pick the mantle and continue this fight.”
Tanko advised those doing things wrongly at the ports to change their ways, noting that most of them have become millionaires and billionaires with the old system; adding that it was time for a change.
He noted that the Compliance Team didn’t join Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in the recent strike because of the crucial peak season.
“Although MWUN called us to join the recent strike, this is the peak season for freight forwarding and port activities and we are already seeing another era of protests under the ENDSARs. After considering these issues, we decided not to join the strike,” he said.
Tanko also assured that the team would continue to be relentless and careful in probing the activities of the stakeholders at the ports.
“We have looked at the activities of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others. So, one of these agencies can’t say that we are targeting them or witchhunting them,” he added.