Shippers Association berates NAGAFF over calls for SON return to seaports


The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) has berated the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) for calling on the federal government to approve the return of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to the seaports describing the call as very unfortunate.

The President of SALS, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol who made the position of the association on the matter known to our correspondent in Lagos on Tuesday registered his displeasure over the calls adding that he was pained more by the fact that the associations that were supposed to protect the shippers were the ones calling for the return of SON to the ports.

Nicol added that the SON should not be allowed to return to the ports as according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service was well equipped to handle the functions of SON.

He said,” Whether they come into the ports or not, we are still paying them for doing nothing. The Conformity Certificate is supposed to be used for export, so, you cannot give standard to ISO standard. If you want to register goods; why must that attract over N3, 000 per container and ask the importers to come and register their products as if that is the only duty you want to perform?

“We are really sad because our own contractors are the ones trying to kill us by asking Standards Organization to come and they know that we are the ones giving them jobs to do and we cannot continue to spend money unreasonably. So, they should protect shippers except if they are benefitting from Standards Organization and that is very unfortunate. That is what I was told as a message to pass to them. We don’t need that kind of advocacy”.

The SALS boss recalled that the federal government had issued an order barring certain agencies from residing at the port but should be invited by the Nigeria Customs Service when the need arose wondering whether that was not enough.

“What are they looking for in the port? They should stem whatever substandard products they have in their regional offices before they are even shipped to this country and any country that violates that law, report them to the federal government, you put a mien on them, if you bring this type of goods to our country, we stop trade with you. Those days, we were not trading with China, we were not trading with India, was it not the same federal government? So, why are they now calling Standards Organization? The next thing we want to call is for Marriage Registry to come into the ports all because of shippers.

“We want them to protect shippers because we are partners and it is not good for us to be exchanging views. I am speaking from the platform that government says don’t come to the ports, is that not enough? They should respect the government”, he noted.

It will be recalled that the founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam had last week at a media roundtable in Lagos called for the return of the SON to the seaports to check issues of substandard import to the country adding that the agency’s duty was more desirable than that of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Photo: Shippers’ Association Lagos State President, Rev. Dr. Jonathan Nicol.

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