The National Association of Government approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called on the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that its operatives are seen at all the border stations across the nation so as to ensure total compliance with the standard regulations and guidelines for imported products.
The founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam made this call on Thursday when he led a delegation of NAGAFF management team on a courtesy visit to the Lagos office of the agency.
Aniebonam who pointed that the operatives of SON were not present at the Jibiya border where he said that for five years, one Dahiru Manga held trade in that all important international frontier to ransome, also reminded the organization that whatever happened at the port was expected to happen at the border stations hence the need for the agency’s presence in all front.
While recounting what the association and its members in the North-West region of the country suffered to establish their presence at the Jibiya border ranging from espionage charge brought against its member in Niger Republic to burning down of its Vice President’s house by the government agents, the founder expressed happiness that today everyone could now do business unhindered at the border station.
Reminding the agency of the volume of traffic in the Jibiya border, he tasked the management of the SON to reassess the activities of its officers at the Jibiya border and some other border stations so as to see whether they were doing what they were detailed to saying it was very critical.
“It took us exactly five years to establish our presence in Jibiya border and I do know there is nothing like SON there. They are not there because of one man Dahiru Manga. It took us five years to be able to participate in trade as freight forwarders moving cargoes across the international boundaries. Within the period of five years, NAGAFF suffered tremendously, some of our members were charged of espionage in Niger Republic. The Vice President of NAGAFF North-West, his house was burnt down by agents of government and was declared wanted and eventually went to court.
“That was how we met Mr. President before he became the President and good enough he became President and we went back and I can tell you now, everybody is doing business now at the border.
“Therefore, take a look there and see whether your officers are doing what they are supposed to do. This is very critical. The volume of traffic there is quite heavy and so, if you don’t concentrate there, that is alright but something is happening somewhere. So, you need to pay attention there so also some border locations. It is very important that you pay attention there”, he said.
Responding, the Acting Director-General of SON, Dr. Paul Angya hinted that the ports and borders were one area the agency had already drawn its strategy to restructure and strengthen adding that the management had already convened a meeting of their operatives for today to discuss how they could strengthen their operations particularly at the ports and borders.
“So, perhaps, we are really thinking alike. So, I want to assure you that that is one are we are going to have a very strong presence this time. So, you have just given me more impetus and resolve to continue in the area of re-strategizing in our port operations at the ports and borders”, Angya said.
Speaking on the inability of SON staff at the ports to wear their identity cards while on duty, the Acting Director-General frowned at the attitude saying that operatives should proudly wear the identity cards as it not only identify them as staff of SON but also showed that the operatives were proud of where they work.
While welcoming the idea of staff wearing their identity cards while on duty, he insisted that the operatives must be wearing their ID cards adding that where they were not wearing them, the freight forwarders could remind them that they were not wearing their ID cards even as he assured them that he would not take offense.
He said,” You cannot have an unidentified person to interfere in your business. The only reason they are interfering in your business is because they are from SON and I think the Director ICD and Operations should have something to take away. We must have our barges so that people will know we are from SON”.
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