The Concerned Accredited Freight Forwarding Associations (CAFFA) has dissociated itself from the planned shutdown of the Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tincan Island chapter describing it as ill-timed.
Recall that the ANLCA had earlier issued a press release where it threatened to shut down activities at the TICT over what it called “mindless extortions and high level of inefficiency” on the part of the TICT management.
In a press release issued last Friday by the Publicity Secretary of CAFFA, a copy of which was obtained by Primetime Reporters, the group stated that it found it alarming that in this critical period in the nation’s history, that some groups of Nigerians would be contemplating disrupting activities at the ports which according to it was next to oil as the cash cow of the nation.
It observed that the threat to shut down TICT was in their view archaic, retrogressive and constituting both security threat and economic sabotage for a country facing serious security and economic issues.
According to the release,” It is amazing that this group of “Customs Agents” find it convenient to castigate TICT alone for an offence or offences which could be said to be general or common with other terminal operators.
“As freight forwarders who are also at the receiving end of some of the unwholesome activities of the terminal operators, it is our belief that any move to draw attention to these anomalies should not single out one or two terminal operators alone, while we pretend that all is well with the other terminal operators. Any action to resist these anomalies should not be restricted to only one operator but should be uniformly addressed. This smirks off hypocrisy, double stand and selective persecution.
However, if one considers the current trend in the country, it is ill advised to embark on any action that will heighten the already tense situation in the country and threaten the economic progress of the country. To us, this threat to disrupt activities at the ports is misdirected, irresponsible and uncharitable. That a group of people will contemplate this now have lend credence to the reported speech of the Managing Director of the TICT that,” he could not sit with riff-raffs to dialogue.
“As for us in CAFFA, we have always believed in dialogue, communication, consultation and persuasion which will lead to constructive partnership needed for the industry to flourish”.
While calling on its members to remain calm and go about their normal activities at the TICT while the leadership engage the terminal operators across the country on how best to arrive at a junction that would be beneficial to the country and to those doing business at the TICT and other entry points, CAFFA also urged all the security agencies to provide adequate security at the ports to thwart efforts by any group of people who may want to cause chaos as well as guarantee safety of members of the ports community who may want to go about their normal duties without being molested especially its members.
“We also want to advise our sister association to change from their old tactics and approach to resolving industrial disputes by developing capacity in the application of constructive engagements and respect to a constituted authority at all times via consultations, dialogue and communication with the appropriate quarters.
“After all, in the port industry today, an economic regulator is in place, they have an obligation to the industry best practices with respect to the issues raised in their press release.
“Again, the relevant provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention are extant; the port industry is quite strategic and deserves the application of due process when contemplating withdrawal of services by any critical stakeholder in the port industry in relation to “Notices” for such intention. Again, our sister association should equally appreciate and pride themselves as professionals in an association and not a labour union as they present themselves by issuing strike threats or even embarking on strike at every slightest provocation”, the release stated.