Onne Port Crisis: ANLCA hopeful of implementation of resolutions reached, resumption of operations


The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that it is hopeful that the consensus reached at a two day meeting between the freight forwarders operating at Onne port and the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service leading to the suspension of the withdrawal of service embarked upon by the freight forwarders will be religiously implemented.

The Chairman, ANLCA, Onne seaport, Mr. Michael Ebeatu who disclosed this in a statement at Onne in Rivers State also hope for seamless resumption of operations at the seaport while appreciating the understanding and restraints which all stakeholders had shown so far in the impasse.

Ebeatu recalled that the two day meeting had in attendance; the ACG in -charge of Zone C, the Customs Area Controllers of Port Harcourt Area 1 and Area II (Onne), other senior customs officers from the various customs units in both commands and formations including the CIU, Strike Force and Border Drill.

Others according to him included; the ANLCA team led by the National President, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike, ANLCA Patron, Chief Henry Njoku, the National Assistant Secretary of ANLCA, Chief Dennis Okwu and the chapter executives of both Port Harcourt Area 1 and II of ANLCA.

Also at the meeting were; the leadership of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) and the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents (NCMDCLA).

He pointed out that issues presented as operational challenges by the freight forwarders included; incessant alerts, highhandedness and high level of extortion by some units and officers of the NCS and indiscriminate and arbitrary Demand Notices (DN) by some units of the customs and multiple process tables at FOT gate resulting to delays.

The ANLCA Chairman revealed that demands presented by the freight forwarders were; that the CIU team leader should be redeployed, indiscriminate and multiple alerts from Customs Headquarter, multiple processing tables at FOT Gate should be reviewed, reduced and streamlined in order to make job processing seamless and to encourage trade facilitation, all consignment cleared at Onne port be only treated by FOU Akpajo check point and then escalated to other FOU check points in the Zone as having been treated, harassments and inhuman treatment of members by some units and officers of the customs be stopped immediately and that no individual or association should be victimized, unduly sanctioned or maltreated by any unit of customs as a result of the industrial action.

Others according to Ebeatu include; that a waiting room and convenience be provided for freight forwarders at CPC, re-examination at gate should be stopped and all examination be concluded at examination bay, PCA should be streamlined in a manner that once a unit of PCA handles any job no other is permitted to call for such job again, that a technical, implementation and compliance committee be set up to ensure the following: (a) the implementation of all agreement reached and (b) review the processes of operation with the aim of removing all forms of bottlenecks and set up a workable template that would guarantee trade facilitation and promote the ease of doing business.

He however explained that after long negotiation that lasted two days, the following resolutions and agreements were reached;

That the team Leader of CIU should revert with immediate effect to the already existing working arrangement and relationship before his coming to Onne; the CAC promised to work in synergy with the Customs Headquarters and his officers to reduce and streamline alerts; the Comptroller called for attitudinal change in terms of agents declarations, being the cause of most of these alerts; sent to WACT has been abolished, only suspected or consignments with query would be blocked at WACT, FOU matters to be treated by FOU Comptroller.

He continued; “The harassment and inhuman treatment of our members by some officers and their team would not happen again. But members are encouraged to register with their various Associations for proper identification. Where there is any form of harassment of any member again, such should be immediately reported to CAC, the Chairmen or any Senior Officer for immediate intervention.

“Assurance was given by the Area Controller and his officers, that no Association or individual would be victimized, unduly sanctioned or maltreated by any Unit of Customs because of the industrial action; re-examination of containers at gate is now based on tip -off and suspicion on the grounds that the said container was not examined at the examination bay; the PCA formation is not within the control of the Area Controller and may not be able to determine the way of their operation. Hence forth, scrolling, tallying and exiting of containers at the gate are free. Whatever anybody gives shall be by personal appreciation and relationship.

“A technical committee should be formed by the associations to interface with Customs on specific issues. This committee is to collate all dutiable items, list them out and make proposal to Customs on acceptable duty thresholds and workable templates to ensure trade facilitation and revenue generation in order to eliminate every form of extortions, multiple alerts and indiscriminate DNs.

“The O/C Gate promised to address the issue of multiple processing tables and extortion at the gate by his officers and nip it in the bud.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Onne seaport chapter has frowned at some social media publications crediting the resolution of the Onne seaport chapter crisis to one of the stakeholder and former member of the ANLCA Board of Trustees (BOT), Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha.

Ebeatu said, “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t like to join issues with the media, but to put the facts and records straight, hence our necessary reaction. We want to correct the misplacement of credit and the distortion of facts therein.

“It has become imperative to put it clearly that the leaders of all the freight forwarding associations comprising of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders (AREFF), were led to the meeting by the National President of ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, the National Patron of ANLCA, Chief Henry Njoku and the National Assistant Secretary of ANLCA, Chief Dennis Okwu.

“Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha was exclusively invited to the meeting as a stakeholder by the ACG. Please, this is for proper guidance as we remain hopeful of the implementation of the consensus reached and resumption of operations.

“We appreciate the understanding and restraints which we have all shown so far in this challenging time.”

Send your news, press releases/articles to augustinenwadinamuo@yahoo.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.



Leave A Reply