CAC Ejibunu in group photograph with the ANLCA executive members.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The new acting Customs Area Controller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ejibunu HK received high ranking members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) this afternoon as they paid him a courtesy call and also took some time out to issue some prayers.
The delegation was led by the vice president of the association, Dr. Kayode Farinto who after the initial official niceties went straight ahead to table the grievances of the members of the Licensed Customs Agents and the Freight Forwarding community.
In his address, Dr. Farinto likened the operations of some of the men of the FOU to those of medieval times as he says that their modus operandi is not in line with the International best practices noting that vehicles that carry cargoes that are properly cleared at the ports are stopped and searched in “commando style”. He noted that a situation where the men from the unit have divided themselves into two sub-units namely the FOU roving van and the SWAT causes a lot of psychological injuries aside from the physical and economic implications that it portends is not good for our collective psyche and image. The ANLCA vice president even went further to mention the name of an officer who’s actions the association disapproves of as he says that the officer’s conduct shows the Customs to be approbate and reprobate.
ANLCA vp left and other delegate members at the occasion.
He also made reference to his association’s submissions a few days ago with the house committee on Customs where he told them that there are about 25 tables that documents pass through once one’s cargo is impounded at the FOU and that you have to part with #5,000.00 at each table before your documents are handled and that this does not go with the International best practices. Dr. Farinto enumerated many areas that can engender symbiotic relationship between the Customs and the brokers which include single window operations, consultation with brokers, engineering and IT upgradation among others as he urged the CAC to take advantage of these tools.
The CAC in a group photograph with ANLCA Chapter chairmen.
In conclusion of his address, the ANLCA VP made some prayers to the CAC which include a stop to the commando style of accosting the vehicles carrying their cargo, a stop to the harassment of members for various real and imagined issues, an overhaul of their modes of operation, the need to use only educated and knowledgeable officers for jobs especially in operation. He asserted that members are willing and able to help the Customs make their jobs easier with good information and cooperative attitudes.
In his reaction, CAC Ejibunu welcomed the delegation and said that Licensed Customs Agents is an integral part of the Customs as he reiterated that there is nothing that the Customs can do without the brokers and that though the Customs licenses the agents and make sure that they play by the rules, it is obvious that one cannot clap with one hand and so the relationship should continue to be symbiotic. He thanked Dr. Farinto for the avalanche of requests as he puts it, noting that some he already knows, that some he can act on, but some others are beyond him and need patience to handle. He promises to have a talk with his lieutenants and look into those of the issues that he can easily tackle as in his words “I hate insubordination and injustice”. CAC Ejibunu advised that Nigeria belongs to all of us and so we should be guided by patriotic principles in all our daily decision making.
The national secretary of ANLCA, Mr. Babatunde Mukaila Abdulaziz buttressed the need for cooperative relationship between the Customs and the brokers as he says that he was a day before at the Nigerian International Maritime Summit hosted at the Oriental hotel Victoria Island and that he was actually there to represent the association, but also ended up selling the Nigeria Customs Service to the world through its facilitation of trade mantra as he distributed the fliers that were shared at the event. He noted that the country belongs to all of us and therefore we should all have her best interest at heart.
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