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CHOGM: President Buhari, 29 other Heads of Government storm London in April

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…As Greg Ogbefun leads SOAN to CBF to articulate Nigeria’s position***

Thirty Heads of Government, including President Muhammadu Buhari are set to storm London in April this year, for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from 16 to 18, as the intercontinental body debates the economic issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond.

The Maritime First learns on good authority that a 25-man strong team of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), led by its Arrowhead, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun would be in attendance, to articulate Nigeria’s position at the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF 2018) which is to be held in this period of 16 – 18 April 2018 in London, alongside the CHOGM, being an integral part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, President SOAN

Organized by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) London, the CBF according to its Chairman, Lord Marland of Odstock, is actually assembling the CEOs of some 800 of the Commonwealth’s leading businesses who can brainstorm and make real impact, in terms of issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond.

However, the attendance is strictly by invitation.

“This top-level business gathering is only accessed by accredited invitation and will be held across iconic Central London venues”, Lord Marland indicated, noting that the CBF is restricted to revered business leaders, industry experts and senior government representatives so as to bring issues facing their countries in 2018 to the fore, and explore solutions through broader based platforms.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Speaking further, Lord Marland highlighted that the CBF would actually like to see the SOAN play a key role in the Maritime Session, which is taking place on the 17th of April, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, stressing that the aim is to evolve a close working relationship with the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, not only over the coming months, but in an aim of partnering with the SOAN beyond the event, in the long run.

The CWEIC works with the UK Government, in partnership with the City of London.

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NAGAFF Tackles Customs, APMT Over Abandoned Bonded Terminal

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Freight forwarders, under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team, have queried the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and AP Moller Terminal Apapa for depriving bonded terminals of requisite cargoes.

This was one of the conclusions from the inspection of bonded terminals around the Abuleosun area in Lagos by the National Coordinator, of the NAGAFF Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, yesterday.

During the tour, the Task Team engaged the leadership of GMT Terminal which has a spacious facility to handle about 5,000 containers, multiple Reach Stackers, and cranes, among other equipment lying fallow without any container received in over five months.

Speaking with journalists on the sidelines, Tanko said; “Despite the pressure at Apapa port and complaints about congestion, we have discovered that some terminals are abandoned like the GMT Terminal. There is no single container at the terminal because according to the managers of the bonded terminal, APMT refused to send containers to the bonded terminal.”

“Another concern is that the investor was encouraged to spend monies in setting up such a huge facility that can take over 5,000 containers yet there is no activity going on there. Since they were licensed by Customs, why are they being deprived of containers whereas in Apapa the problem is about congestion.”

Tanko, however, noted that his team would discuss with the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command and equally engage the managers of APMT Apapa to find out if there are other covert issues preventing the use of bonded terminals like GMT.

Also speaking, the General Manager, of GMT Bonded and Offdock Terminals, Mr. Waseem Rasheed affirmed that the bonded terminal is truly under the Apapa Customs Command, which has the APMT as its major terminal operator.

“It’s about the import volumes in Nigeria, which are currently running low and impacting the bonded terminals that have invested a lot of money on the infrastructure. 

“Since the ports are not congested due to the reduction in import volumes, thus ports are not transferring containers to Bonded terminals.

“However, we anticipate an increase in volumes in the country in the near future and we are ready to join hands in serving the importers with our fully equipped terminal for timely transfers, clearance and delivery.

Meanwhile, he expressed genuine optimism that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) which encouraged investments in bonded terminal operations years ago will create a business environment that would see bonded terminal operations thrive.

At the SAPID, another bonded terminal, also at Abuleosun, Tanko lamented the unhealthy work environment characterized by intense heat as freight forwarders are kept under heat-absorbing roofing sheets, leading to extremely hot conditions.

The NAGAFF Team

“We are going to officially send a letter to SAPID on this issue of unpalatable work environment. During our engagement with the Deputy Controller at the facility, he claimed that even among the Customs offices only his office has a functional air conditioner. I want to believe that SAPID is ready for bonded terminal operations and if that is the case, they should have an environment conducive for business,” Tanko said.

According to him, the letter to SAPID on its unacceptable work environment will be sent to the terminal today and will specify a timeline to address the issue or face strike actions and protests from freight agents.

The task team also visited the Classic bonded terminal where the operators lamented that activities of Area Boys affiliated with the Local Government have limited the patronage of the facility as trucks exiting the bonded terminal are being forced to pay unreceipted levies.

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NAPTIP Sacks Deputy Director, 4 Officers For Alleged Misconduct

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How I was Lured into Commercial sex Work- Libyan returnee tells Ibadan FHC

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has dismissed five of its personnel, including a Deputy Director, allegedly, over misconduct.

This is contained in a statement issued by. the agency’s Press Officer, Mr. Vincent Adekoye, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adekoye said the misconduct offence ranged from corruption; demanding and receiving bribes from suspects and relatives and leaking confidential information to suspects.

Others are alleged violation of oath of secrecy; stealing and alteration of official records and absent from duty without Official leave.

He said that these offences are all contrary to provisions of the Public Service Rules and other extant laws and regulations.

He said that two other officers were demoted by two ranks for soliciting for bribe from a suspect of human trafficking, while one officer was demoted by one rank for negligence of duty.

He said that the disciplinary actions followed the approval of the Governing Board of the agency at its meeting on May 25.

Adekoye said that at the meeting, the board considered and ratified the decision of the agency’s Senior Staff Committee (SSC) which earlier sat on the disciplinary matters in accordance with the Public Service Rules and other extant laws and regulations.

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ANLCA: Farinto Gets Oodua Descendants’ Endorsement for Presidential Election

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…Wants FG to Recognise Role of Freight Forwarders***

The  Acting National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who is also vying for the position of president in the forthcoming National Executive Committee (NECOM) election, Dr. Kayode Farinto Collins has stated that the Federal government of Nigeria must recognise the role freight forwarders played in revenue generation to grow Nigeria’s economy.

Speaking on Tuesday at an endorsement ceremony organised for him by the Oodua Descendants Freight Forwarders Global Association, Farinto lamented that freight forwarders and Customs brokers have never been honoured by the federal government for National Award despite their huge revenue contributions to the Federal government coffers.

He said if elected, he will work with the Federal government to make sure friendly maritime policies are formulated by the government that will help the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) at the ports. His words:

“Our profession must be recognised by the Federal government. We are the ones generating the revenue through our importers, while the Customs only midwife and collect the same for the government, but yet we are not recognised. We will make sure the government recognizes the role we play in the revenue chain through our activities in the ports”.

Farinto, enjoying the euphoria of widespread recognition in his campaign

The ANLCA Chieftain further said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation is too bogus and there is a need to balkanize it to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, where the enormous potential of the maritime Industry will be fully harnessed, especially the Blue Economy Resources that abound in the Sector.

He lamented that as it stands now Nigeria does not have any maritime policy for the next 10 years while advising President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint professionals that will fashion out a working maritime policy for the country.

Advising his members at the event, he admonished them to practice the profession with integrity so as to leave a good name for the young freight forwarders coming into the profession.

In his remarks, the President of Oodua Descendants Freight Forwarders Global Association, Prince Segun Adefioye praised the sterling qualities of Dr Farinto’s leadership and promised that all his members would cast their votes for him. He said already he has secured 52 licences to vote for him at the election.

The gathering attracted who is who in the industry from the Yoruba race in ANLCA, among them Board of Trustees members, Zonal Coordinator Western Zone, Some Western Zone Chapter Chairmen, Chieftains of ANLCA, some other contestants, Women in ANLCA and some Igbo Maritime Association members who represented the Igbo Maritime Association at the event.

The event also witnessed a brief presentation of their manifestos by other Contestants who are vying for one position or another. The highlight of the event was the official presentation and endorsement of Dr Kayode Farinto Collins as the sole presidential candidate of a group in the ANLCA NECOM election coming up in July 2023.

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