NAGAFF, ANLCA plan to harmonise compliance teams – Tanko
The 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said it’s hoping to build a new partnership with the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) compliance team by January 2021.
Just recently, ANLCA formed its compliance team and has asked NAGAFF to work with them in order to ensure trade facilitation in the port.
Ibrahim Tanko, the national coordinator of NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, who disclosed this recently, denied the allegation of harassment, intimidation and blackmail of Customs officers on duty levelled against the team by John Ofobuike, zonal coordinator, West of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).
Ofobuike had in a petition dated 8th December 2020 and addressed to the Customs Area Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Area Command, Abba Kura, alleged that Customs officers were being harassed and intimidated by Tanko and the NAGAFF Compliance Team.
“A lot of officers in your command are groaning under the weight of constant demand for job gratification, intimidation, harassment and name dropping by Ibrahim Tanko and his purported 100% Compliance Team from NAGAFF. You may have been aware of a publication in one of the maritime print media blackmailing one of your officers in AML Bonded Terminal for bluntly refusing to ‘play ball’ to the said 100% Compliance Team,” the petition read.
It further reads: “They have been issuing threats to him for his astuteness in discharging his duty. Same goes to your officers in Mid-Maritime Bonded Terminal as well as Denca Bonded Terminal and other terminals who refused to ‘play ball’ with them. They are equally being intimidated and hounded for approaching their duties with forthrightness.”
Reacting during a recent press briefing in Lagos, Tanko denied the allegations stating that the last time the team visited the three bonded terminals, they went with newsmen.
Tanko explained that since that time, he had never gone there again by himself even as he denied intimidating or extorting any Customs officer as alleged by the petitioner.
“I haven’t intimidated, extorted or pressured any customs officer. How can an armless person like me, a civilian harass an armed Customs officer? How will somebody who has no gun harass somebody with gun? How will somebody with no power of arrest intimidate or harass Customs officer who has the power of arrest and? He (Ofobuike) could have been patient enough to see our mistake before writing the petition,” Tanko said.
Tanko assured that since the establishment of the Compliance Team, it has never confronted or attacked any Customs officer or government agency.
“We are doing sensitisation between the importers and our members telling them the benefits of doing the right thing. We have not accused any Customs officer of corruption or any other wrongdoing. If there is any such development, let the person so attacked, harassed or intimidated come out and say,” he said.