Freight forwarding bodies at loggerheads over developments on public hearing

 The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF) and the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) have been in strong disagreements over a proposed ‘public hearing’ on alleged corrupt customs officers, which was eventually called off.

Recall that NAGAFF had called for a public hearing over issues of corrupt practices by some customs officers at the Tin-Can Island Port Command, but was put off after the association said the customs management intervened and decided on internal mechanisms to deal with the corruption allegation.

Following the development, the NAGAFF President, Chief Eugene Nweke, in a statement at the weekend, berated the ANLCA President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu on his opinion in an interview over the public hearing.
Nweke said that Shittu had in an interview accused NAGAFF of seeking undue attention through the deferred public hearing, and did not follow up its views with corresponding actions, making NAGAFF ‘chicken out’ on the proposed hearing, having mentioned the name of the officer in public domain.

Responding to the Shittu’s views, Nweke said, “I wish to state c categorically that NAGAFF has no problem with Prince Shittu's continuous expression of interest in NAGAFF affairs all along.

“But in the context of the said interview, to say the least, it is an open exhibition of envy and the expression of an unhiden sense of feeling threatened with  NAGAFF's rising profile.

 “As a matter of fact, NAGAFF did  not expect anything less from the ANLCA  President, who has admitted at different fora,   that agents under his purview are  guilty of great deceit in their  brokerage obligations and  are LIARS in the service of TRUTH, hence, their penchant for  corrupt tendencies in every aspect of professional endeavors.”

Nweke accused ANLCA of promoting the culture of impunity in the port system, adding that NAGAFF had consistently insisted on zero tolerance to corruption in all its dealings as against what obtains with ANLCA.

 The NAGAFF President said his association was driving a policy advocacy quest for the emancipation, repositioning and realigning of the Freight Forwarders in Nigeria among the comity of the global Freight Forwarding Families, in line with professional institutionalisation.

He said NAGAFF's public policy advocacy was propelled by an urgency for the respect to due process, compliance to rules of engagement and adherence to international best practices, thereby, anchoring its policy advocacy on the principles of persuasion, consultation, dialogue, negotiations and communication.

Meanwhile, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali(Rtd.) in a statement dated Dec. 21,  addressed to the NAGAFF President, said officers were only subject to the authority of the Federal Government and not those of any private organisation.

He said the customs service, in line with the ‘change mantra of the present administration, had zero tolerance for corruption.

He said the customs would appreciate to be furnished with all necessary information linked with the alleged corrupt practice for necessary action to be taken.