The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have expressed support for the #EndSars protest, even as the protests have almost totally paralysed commercial activities and cargo clearance and delivery at the ports.
The protests had spread to Apapa port on Monday, when several protesters carried placards with various inscriptions demanding an end to police brutality in the country.
Specifically, those seen at Tin Can port carried various placards demanding an end to extortions by men of Nigeria Customs Service, customs intimidation, Police blocking among others.
But, in a chat with our correspondent, the National Secretary of ANLCA, Mr Babatunde Mukaila, said although the association is not particularly part of the protest, the association is in support of the protest.
He said the difficulties that may be faced in cargo clearance as a result of the protest is a price freight forwarders have to pay for the government to listen to the youths.
According to him, “as much as we were not particularly part of it, but I want to register that ANLCA is in support of the EndSars movement and support an end to all port systemic corruption, freight forwarding is a noble profession to international procedures and best practices, and all this while, it has been the Nigeria thing that when you circumvent the international protocol of trade by sea or by air or through borders, I believe the EndSars is a catalyst to stopping and stoppages of all corruption tendencies, even at all port systemic corruption movement, so if there are difficulties in cargo clearance, it’s a price that needs to be paid for government to listen to the youths why not, so I think at this time government should listen to the youth” he said.
On his part, the Public Relations Officer of NAGAFF; Mr Stanley Ezenga also lent his voice in support of the EndSars movement while also stating that the association is in support of the youth demanding an end to FOU formation extortion, police road blocks among other demands by the youth who stormed the Apapa and Tin Can port on Monday.
“We know that there are multiple alerts, multiples government agencies within the port system, where by different set of customs will give you values and another set will begin to query the valuation given to you by those who are trained to give the value, so we cannot claim we are not in support of it, we are totaling in support of what is going on” he said.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Customs at Tin Can Port; Uche Ejieseme has said the command is already looking into the demands of the protesting clearing agents, while stating that some of the demands that cannot be met by the command will be escalated to the headquarters to take decision on it, he confirmed that the protest has disrupted port activities, while stating that the command will be meeting the leader of the group for a roundtable discussion today (Tuesday)
“It’s natural that situation like this will slow down activities, don’t forget that the EndSars brouhaha is metamorphosing into several other issues
“Yesterday, they were here in their numbers and I believe they went to other government agencies too, they blocked the major high ways, even for some of our operatives to come to work yesterday was a herculean task, but at the end of the day because we are frontline officers, we actually had to defy all odds to be at our duty post,
“When they came yesterday, they were very peaceful and they registered their grievances which the command is already attending to, the one that are beyond us; definitely we are going to escalate to headquarters, because as you know this is a regimented service, there are certain demands of theirs that do not fall under our purview to address”