Drama as NAGAFF’s Compliance Team visits Mid Maritime bonded terminal


…Terminal Manager accused Team of forcing selves into terminal

…DC Terminal, Manager agreed to work with us – Tanko

A mild drama yesterday ensued between the members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF)’s Presidential Compliance Team and the security officials at the gate of the Mid Maritime services bonded terminal during a tour of the terminal located at the Tincan Island port by the National Coordinator of the NAGAFF’s Compliance Team.

Recall that the National Coordinator of the team and Vice President, Western Zone, NAGAFF, Alhaji Ibrahim commenced a nationwide tour of customs commands and bonded terminals on yesterday.

The tour which was scheduled to commence at 10am with proposed visit to about three bonded terminal yesterday was delayed until some minutes past 1pm following an undisclosed reason, culminating in the team visiting only one bonded terminal – Mid Maritime Services yesterday.

However, on arrival at the terminal gate, two trucks were blocking the entrance while the terminal’ security men trying to give them clearance directed the vehicles in the convoy of the compliance team to park by the gate side.

As the trucks blocking the entrance eventually made their way into the terminal, the security officials moved to close the gate only for members of the compliance team to start ordering them to leave the gate open apparently to enable their National Coordinator who was in his car behind the convoy to drive in through the terminal, leading to the team members dragging the gate with the security officials who eventually overpowered them.

When the National Coordinator eventually arrived the scene and having been properly briefed by his members assigned to work at the terminal, another struggle ensued between members of the compliance team who were struggling to go into the terminal with their National Coordinator and the terminal security officials who insisted that the number was too much to be allowed entry into the terminal which is classified as a security area. It took the doggedness of the security officials to stop some of the compliance team members from gaining entrance into the terminal.

Inside the terminal, the Manager of the Mid Maritime accused the team of breaking protocols by forcing themselves into the terminal and frowned at the development.

Addressing members of the team who were not allowed entry into the office complex inside the terminal shortly before going in for meeting with the DC Terminal and the Terminal Management, the National Coordinator of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko said, “they accused us of forcing ourselves into the terminal which I believe something like that did not happen. But I apologized to the Manager there, that even if something like that happened, we are sorry, that is not our mission. We are only here to visit the DC Terminal here.

“We will select some of our people here so that we can address the DC Terminal on why we are here. All of us cannot enter inside the office.”

Speaking to newsmen on the purpose of the visit, Tanko noted that the visit was necessitated by some people who according to him “call themselves owners of this place and may be helping to do the wrong thing here”, who insisted that NAGAFF’s Compliance Team would not be domiciled at the terminal which he said had succeeded in resolving.

He disclosed that the DC Terminal had agreed to work with them adding that he (DC Terminal) even communicated with the founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam and promised to work with him.

He added, “But I told him, whether he wants to work with us or not, we are here to work with him and we are here to help the government which he promised to work with us.

“The terminal operator that was trying to reject us, later on accepted us too partially but they said that they were going to give me a call today or tomorrow. So, I believe it has been resolved now.”

On his findings at the terminal, he said, “I was here before, they have equipment, they have about five to six standard forklifts and their land, you can see the premises, the place is okay but what we are trying to find out which I cannot say for now is their charges but I have told my members to give me some of their debit notes let me go through and see what their charges are like.”

On flooded floor of the terminal, the National Coordinator stated, “It is not good for operation, I complained about that and they promised to discuss that with their MD. They gave me the phone number of the MD but I rejected the number. I did that because of their initial approach to us but they said that they are going to talk to their MD about our visit and promised that their MD will call me on phone.”

When asked to comment on the little disagreement between his members and the terminal security officials, he said, “We are here together with you people, did we fight anybody here? We did not fight anybody here but let me tell you one thing here, anybody seeing compliance team will see us as enemies. It is left for us to explain to that person that we are not enemies; we are only trying to do the right thing. It is a gradual process, you know most of us are doing the wrong thing and they enjoy doing the wrong thing. In fact, let me tell you, even some of our members are fighting us because we are telling them to do the right thing.

“It’s a gradual process, you can see what happened now, they were trying to even refuse us, at the end of the day, what happened? They accepted us and when they heard from us, they promised to work with us.”

Photo: Members of the NAGAFF’s Presidential Compliance Team during the tour of the Mid Maritime Services yesterday.

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