National Chairman, NAGAFF Compliance Team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim
The 100 Per Cent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has absolved the operatives of Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service and the CG’s Strike Force of corruption allegations.
Reacting to a recent media interview by some freight forwarders against the two units of Customs, the Compliance Team described the allegation as mere blackmail.
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Recall that Fwdr. Emeka Nwosu, the Tin can chapter Chairman of the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) and Fwdr. Steve Ibe, President of Patriot Anti Corruption Initiative in Nigeria had in a granted interview described operatives of FOU Zone A and Strike Force as extortionists.
The National Chairman of the Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, condemned the corruption allegation, describing it as unverified, malicious and baseless.
Tanko warned the two freight forwarders to desist from blackmailing those who are diligently performing their duties but rather be compliant to the extant Customs laws as they engage in their freight forwarding activities.
According to Tanko most of the people pointing accusing fingers on Customs engage in wrong classifications, false declarations of cargos, and underpayment of Customs duty, among others and wondered why such willful infractions should not be surcharged.
Tanko who is currently a member of the CRFFN Governing Council advised importers and freight agents to approach their business with dignity and respect in order to avoid interceptions, extra charges and forfeiture of their cargoes.
“You remember when we started this campaign on compliance, we are not the ones that insisted on it, it is the Customs, in fact, government.
They are the people accusing us that we freight forwarders of not being compliant.
“That is the main reason why NAGAFF decided to float this Compliance Team of NAGAFF.
Remember today, we are two years plus now.
We started with the importers.
Those are the people we relate with directly.
They are our customers.
We spent six months educating them to do the right thing and the benefits of complying as well as the inherent dangers of doing the wrong thing.
A lot of people lose their containers because they refuse to do the right thing.
“Declare what you have, like am having one thousand pieces of generator, classify it correctly, examine your container and pay the right duty.
“Whether one million people are on the road, did that concern you, the answer is NO. When they say give me your documents, you give them your documents.
They examine it and found you have one thousand pieces of generator, are they going to give you another DN, the answer is No.
“Do we do the right thing? That is the problem and we have been campaigning about it and our members now see us as their enemies.
If you do the right thing, you cannot be afraid of anyone. You go home and sleep.
The highest thing, you plead on the value, they give it to you.
“The person you saw in that video castigating Customs is the very person I saw at Apapa Command pleading with the Area Controller who wanted to seize his container.
The same person now went on air complaining without shame.
Let’s talk to ourselves.
Let’s do the right thing.
“I had to go to Strike Force and I found out that out of 100 letters of invitation for examination, 90 % are on false declaration and they raised DN after examination and confirmation.
“I had a letter of invite for examination, the containers were examined and they found nothing.
They wrote satisfactorily and then released the container.
Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam
“What we should complain about, is about the Police who detain and examine containers.
What concerns Police with Duty? They write a series of letter inviting an agent to come and explain about a container that he had already delivered.
“What we are saying is that we give room for someone to come and intimidate us”, Tanko stated.
Also speaking on the issue, Western Zone Coordinator of the Compliance Team, Dr. Fred Ajuzie, was surprised at the allegations levelled against Customs by AFFPLON Chieftain, and President, Patriot Anti Corruption Initiative in Nigeria.
Ajuzie remarked that the indictment of officers carrying out their legitimate duties is uncalled for, which only showed that the accusers are not compliant with the rules of engagement.
He said that his team has been preaching against non-compliance, adding that any freight forwarder complaining, is not compliant.
He is engaging in a false declaration of cargo.
Ajuzie declared that Compliance Team frowns at any freight forwarder who is not doing the right thing.
He described the FOU and CG strike Force officers as thorough professionals who go about their lawful duties fearlessly without minding who is involved in any infraction.
“FOU and Strike Force now are very tense in terms of enforcement.
They are on the ground and the system they are using now is different from the old system.
It is not FOU with roadblocks, No.
You will not see them, but they will come after your cargo immediately after they find out that what you declare is different from what they saw.
They take your cargo to their warehouse and then raise DN or give a seizure.
“I have never seen where they are demanding for money.
It is the freight forwarders that beg them to accept money.
They won’t give you that chance”, he concluded.