L-R: Chairman of Tin Can Chapter of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Segun Oduntan, Secretary of Western Zone Chairman of ANLCA, Bayo Oyekangun, Cordinator of Western Zone, Sir John Oforbike, Apapa chapter chairman, Olumide Fakanlu, PTML chairman, Oluwole Obe and KLT chairman, Godwin Soleji at a joint press briefing in Lagos yesterday.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has condemned the surge in importation of guns into the country through Lagos ports, describing the act as being motivated by lack of patriotism, greed and willful attempt by some persons to subvert the sovereignty of Nigeria.
At a joint press briefing held at the National Secretariat of the association by Chairmen of various chapters under the Western Zone yesterday, it equally blamed arms importation on what it alleged as collaboration between Nigeria Customs Service and ‘mushroom associations’.
The ANLCA pointedly accused members of other associations a responsible for the various vices being perpetrated at the ports. The joint press briefing was anchored by ANLCA Western Zone Coordinator, Sir, John Oforbike.
The ANLCA Chieftain alleged that a Lillypond Chapter Chairman of International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA) Lawrence Ubah is currently on the run for diverting a container under seal to an importer’s warehouse.
The IFFA Chairman was a former member of ANLCA.
Speaking further, Oforbike said that ANLCA is the only association recognised by law and licensed by customs to carry out customs brokerage, but customs has failed to carry it along in its operations.
He advocated that, henceforth, all 'tranzire' containers leaving the ports for bonded terminal warehouses should be properly check and escorted by customs officers because, according to him, this is where many of the unwholesome cargoes find their way into the market. Oforbike also called for increased intelligence collaboration between Nigeria Customs and ANLCA, saying that customs cannot feign ignorance of all the offensive cargoes entering through the ports.
He stressed that,"we(ANLCA) are major stakeholders in this industry and the ones licensed by Nigerian Customs which is written in CEMA, but most of the time, customs does not take us into consideration in their operations modality and security strategy because of their relationships with these mushroom associations"
"Some call themselves International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), some call themselves Igbo Maritime Forum, Arewa Maritime Forum, Odua Maritime Forum and some call themselves National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), but we are never the same" "We cannot be part of whatever is happening, customs should take us as their first partners because we have the first contact with importers, it is our duty to give information to security agencies" "Customs should stop partnering with people without identity, they don't have licenses, customs has not protected ANLCA members enough from these organised individuals whose aim is to perpetrate security breaches by hacking licenses of our members without their consent, these associations are giving us a bad name" "Most of the people you see in the ports today are being encouraged by Nigerian Customs and security agents", he said. Also speaking at the briefing, Tin Can Port Chapter Chairman of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan urged customs Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian Police on community policing, according to him, ANLCA is the community of the port.
He said that the recent seizure of arms at Tin Can Port without collaboration with operators is merely making mockery and ridicule of the Customs CG because according to him, many of such containers laden with arms would have left the port with connivance of corrupt officers.
"We are like the community of the port, and if you don't partner with us, how do you get your information, without this you cannot get it right, the CG coming to announce arrest of container ar Tin Can is a mockery of him, how many of such has passed through Apapa, Seme, KLT and PTML" "The CG should stop playing to the gallery and coming here with press to sensationalise, we were not even briefed about the situation till now, results can only be gotten through collaboration" he said