Freight forwarders hide under Customs licensing regulations to commit crimes-Aniebonam 

By Dapo Olawuni       |        

Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has called for a review of the licensing regulation of the Nigeria Customs service, saying that many corporate entities are hiding behind the license to commit crime.

The NAGAFF founder in an interview with our correspondent also fingered Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) as being the most beneficiary of the customs licensing regulation, saying that by virtue of its set up, the association enjoys more clearing licenses.

He also raised an alarm saying that clandestine efforts are currently being made by ANLCA to adjust the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act which is currently before the 8th National Assembly.

He however said that a corporate body cannot be referred to as a professional in the port system.

“In the area of professionalism, you cannot be a professional when you are not an individual person”

“The licensing regulation of the customs today which has to do with membership of ANLCA, their membership is based on licenses issued by customs, except you unveil the incorporation before you can see who is behind the license, it is only the Corporate Affairs Commission or the court that has power to do that”

“This is why the level of criminality in the port is high, people are hiding under that incorporation to perpetrate illegality, the issue of compliance as far as I am concerned, the licensing regulation of the customs needs to be reviewed because some people are hiding under that veil to commit crime, to the extent that even people who are not Nigerians are involved in cargo movement” he said

Aniebonam alleged that certain nomenclatures which hitherto were not in the Act are now being smuggled in. He said that NAGAFF has it on good authority that moves are being made to ensure that only a government appointee can become Chairman of CRFFN.

Specifically, Aniebonam accused sister association, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) for being responsible for some of these manipulations.

He said the CRFFN Gazette No 31 now recognized the Customs Licensed Agent as a separate party

The provision which was sighted by our correspondent is contained in Gazette No 31 under the Annual subscription and other fees which states “35% to the Registered Freight Forwarder and Customs Licensed Agent (REFF and CLA who made the declaration through the accredited Associations”

Aniebonam further told our correspondent that “Some of the things we are talking about are before the national assembly, the 8th Assembly, the CRFFN Act is there for amendment but it is stalled, the things that made us go to court is what they are now trying to get from the backdoor through the National Assembly”

“The latest information i am getting now is that it is from appointees into CRFFN that you would get who will be Chairman of the Council. Meanwhile we have a case in Appeal court that has to do with interpreting status of the Council, our position is very obvious, this Act is a quasi government agency, the CRFFN is a baby of NAGAFF, we know what it is designed to achieve”

“Right now, in the CRFFN, it is a battle, look at the last gazette that came out , ANLCA has gone to smuggle in the licensing regulation, if they do understand what freight forwarding is all about, this would not happen.
The CRFFN Act does not recognise a licensed customs agent, except for administrative purposes, this is a freight forwarding Act”

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