The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has alleged high level of harassment and detention by Area B command of the Nigerian Police Force(NPF) in Lagos.
The National Vice President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto said this on Monday, during a chat on our sister platform; Shipping Position Live on Star FM, 101.5 in Lagos.
While giving an update on the lockdown of Lagos as it affects clearing agents, Farinto expressed disappointment, saying that even the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in a place like Apapa is not even aware that ports were allowed to be operational during this lockdown.
He said: "We have some challenges, we have a situation where overzealous officers are harassing our members and I have personally intervened in some occasions"
"It will surprise you to know that the DPO do not even know that the ports are opened and that people on essential duties are moving. Surprisingly also, it is even happening at AREA B, Apapa; the agents were arrested by the DPO on Friday and I have to personally go there. It is very annoying", he lamented.
Farinto however explained that there are so many clearing agents at the port during this period, because so many things can be classified as essential goods.
He however reiterated the need to clarify what is essential goods.
"What the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) was saying is that the people that are supposed to be at the ports are those that are clearing essential goods and there is need for clarification of essential goods"
"We told them that there is ambiguity in the issue of essential goods. Because if you say essential, there are lots of things that can be classified as essential, so he is likely to see so many clearing agents at the ports, we have actually clarified that", he explained.
Farinto however lauded the three government agencies: Shippers’ Council, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) for ensuring that banks around the ports are operational.
"CRFFN, NSC and NPA they have succeeded in talking to the CBN and we have seven banks that have started operations", he confirmed.
He nevertheless said that the banks are supposed to handle duty payment alone and not full banking operations.
"We have Union Bank, Sterling Bank, GTB amongst others. But however these banks are supposed to handle duty payment alone, it is not as if they will go into full banking activities" he clarified.