For allegedly collecting N10,000 each for port pass from freight forwarders seeking entrance into its terminal, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has been charged to investigate terminal operator; Ports and Terminal Management Limited (PTML)
Giving the charge last week in Lagos, Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam tasked the Chairman Governing Board of CRFFN, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar to arrest and prosecute the terminal operator for violating governments' directive and extorting operators.
He lamented that the challenge has been lingering at PTML where freight forwarders were being prevented from entering the port to carry out their legitimate business.
The NAGAFF Founder who was speaking at the celebration of the Freight Forwarders Day in Lagos also expressed disappointment that while the alleged extortion continued, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council could not correct the anomaly.
Aniebonam noted that the CRFFN is the best agency to deal with PTML, he charged the council to deploy it's enforcement team and it's tribunal to arrest and prosecute the terminal operator.
While addressing the CRFFN chairman, Aniebonam said: "The CRFFN has a tribunal, all you need to do is to get in touch with the Inspector General of Police, it is his powers to assign police officers to you, a Judge is also assigned to the tribunal, if all these have been done, then you can move in the enforcement unit of the CRFFN to pick them (PTML) up and charge them to court"
"We are not living in a banana republic, the other side of it is corruption and the freight forwarders are being extorted"
"We have written documents, shippers’ council has been there, NPA has been there and yet they are doing what they are doing", he lamented.
Aniebonam noted that Over 6,000 containers are lying at the port as overtime cargoes, even though the law says that after 30 days, the cargoes should leave the ports for the outer terminals. He said the country is losing money through payment of a lot of demurrage.
Speaking further, he said "This is the set time; the police are there to work with us"
He said that the Police have been assigned to other government agencies and this is why they have been able to carry out their regulatory functions effectively.