The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has petitioned the federal government and the National Assembly over what it described as flagrant disobedience of federal government directive by aviation handling companies.
The group in a letter to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and copied the two arms of the National Assembly, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, aviation agencies, among others, maintained that Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) defy government directive on storage charges during the lockdown period.
The group in a letter explained that the Federal Government of Nigeria at the inception of lockdown against COVID-19 Pandemic ordered that businesses all over Nigeria should lockdown, including operations at the ports besides essential businesses and services, during the incumbency of the lockdown.
In the letter signed by the National President of the Association, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, the group added that as usual with the Handlers (NAHCO and SAHCO), they have again flagrantly disregarded and disobeyed the directive saying the two bodies have been operating and they are informing people whose consignments are with them to come forward to pay ground rent wholly 100%.
“Where there is no operation and lockdown, what then brought about the issue of demurrage? With so much pressure and protests from the industry’s stakeholders, the two handlers have decided to peg the same rent to 20%.
“We and other port users are not comfortable with the disrespect of the Federal Government directive/order. It is also our belief that the Federal Government through your office should wield the big stick and sanction the two bodies.
“These two bodies are fond of adding to the economic hardship of Nigerians. As a matter of fact, our Association is in court against these 2 erring (NAHCO and SAHCO), disrespectful and non-conformists regarding handling charges which they intended to ‘jack up’ to an arbitrary 70%.
“Even as the matter is still in court, the two reduced the charges to 40% and implemented same contrary to the avowed belief and doctrine ‘that when a matter is sub-judicial, all forms of self-help should cease’. NAHCO and SAHCO have contemptuously done the unthinkable ditto this pandemic lockdown directive.
“If the Handlers can call the bluff of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos, presided over by revered Prof. Obiozor J., what then is Federal Government to order them to apply zero demurrage during the lock down? It has been their custom and their management character to flout orders, they must be ‘cut to size’ and be made to obey lawful order/directives.
“We expect the FAAN, NCAA and your good office to check to compel the handlers to comply with the federal government order/directives.”
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