Freight forwarders have notified the Federal Government that as a result of high level corruption in the nation’s seaports and border posts, they have resolved to withdraw their services with effect from March 20, 2017.
The group, operating under the auspices of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), made their intention known through a letter to Mr. President dated March 17, 2017.
In the letter referenced NAGAFF/HQ/2017/4/19 and signed by Acting National President, Mr. Increase Uche, the group noted that since all efforts made by it and other professionals in the system had failed to yield the desired result, they had no other option than to withdraw their services.
“It is our view and advice that something urgent should be done to put our ports operations in the mood of the nation with regard to stemming corruption in Nigeria. NAGAFF and its members as professionals are ever ready to work with the Government with a view to ensuring compliant to import and export regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is our view that we must not pass onto our children the concept of giving bribes to earn a living.
“We are tired and we do not want to continue with this kind of life. It is our belief that society cannot be built in this manner and it is our desire to be part of the ongoing change in Nigeria. Having made our feelings known at different fora and seeing that these agents of Government and those in the private sector operating in our ports and border stations have not made any concrete effort to change their ways, we have as a last resort decided to write to your Excellency, our intention to give the Government and all concerned a 21 day notice (commencing from Monday March 20, 2017) to withdraw”, NAGAFF stated.
The group also reminded the President that a sister association had also issued a notice to withdraw its services from the system for the same reason and urged the authorities to urgently do the needful to avert the looming danger.
In its words, “We wish to acknowledge that our sister Association i.e. the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has earlier issued similar ultimatum. Added to this is that other Associations and professional groups in the sector have given notice of an imminent showdown in this regard. Our decision at NAGAFF is also in line with this thinking. We delayed in making any statement because we believe, we needed to make wide consultation among our members across the country. We want to inform the Government that the decision to withdraw our services enjoys a wide acceptability among the various organs and spectrum of our Association, as well as the broader spectrum of practitioners in the industry. We urge the Government and the authorities concerned to take appropriate and prompt steps to avert this looming showdown which could have devastating effect on the economy of our great country. Mr. President we do urge you to intervene at this critical time and it is our hope that in due time a maritime submit on trade and ports operation should be convened. The need to fast forward a National Transport Commission cannot be overemphasized for the reasons that a leader must emerge to coordinate ports functions.
NAGAFF added, “Mr. President one could understand from the point of business men and women whose intentions are usually to maximize profit. In this regard the propensity to cheat is always there. And for this reason, the Government
decided to deploy her agents with a view to maintaining order and protecting the interest of the Government on matters of revenue, regulations and control on approved status and Standard Operating Conditions of the Government. We regret to inform you that it is to the contrary in our ports operations. The Standard Operating Conditions and the regulations are most times observed in the breach”.
The letter was titled “Re: 21 Days Notice to Commence the Withdrawal of Services at the Nigerian Ports and Border Stations Nationwide With Effect From 20th Of March 2017”
“It is with deep sense of patriotism as professionals to inform you that over time we have made several efforts to draw the attention of schedule officers in the various Ministries who have their officers deployed to the ports and border stations as to the need to stem corrupt acts in our entry points. We are glad to inform you that they have always reacted positively but unfortunately the essence of follow-up and feed backs were lacking” the association further stated.