Aniebonam Counsels Freight Forwarders, Calls For Genuine Declaration

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The Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Chairman of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Dr Boniface Aniebonam has advised freight forwarders and customs agents to avoid blackmail and imbibe the culture of genuine declarations in their dealings with customs.

Aniebonam gave this piece of advice in a press statement made available to Platform Reporters on Friday and signed by Hilda Oyanna, Head of Protocol, Office of NAGAFF Founder which is titled, “LIVING IN A GLASS HOUSE AND THROWING STONES IS SELF DESTRUCTIVE. ASKING FOR EQUITY WITH A DIRTY HAND IS IDIOTIC AND CRIMINAL”.

According to him: “As an Elder statesman in freight forwarding business and the founder of NAGAFF, the umbrella body of freight forwarding practitioners in Nigeria, I wish again to advise practitioners that the way to go in our business is to imbibe the culture of best practices in the Customs Ports and approved Border Stations.

“It is on record that thereafter 20 years I initiated a process to enthrone best practice in freight forwarding profession, I voluntarily retired from active participation in Association management and administration with a view to allowing the young Freight Forwarders initiate a more robust approach to attain sustainable freight forwarding practice in Nigeria. Within the period under review, I strived to encourage education and knowledge, respect for rule of law and regulation, collaboration and partnership both at local and international levels, friendship and most importantly patriotism. I equally recall that I made effort to develop a system for conflict resolution using the mode of consultation, communication and dialogue, other than taking laws into our hands.

“But in real terms, I have noted a process of avoidable blackmail in the
manner we address issues of concern to us. This is exactly why I said
those who live in a glass house should not throw stones because yours too
shall be broken. My advice to the leadership of the various Associations
is to always adopt a system of using internal mechanism in all matters of
trade dispute for resolution. It is regrettable and most unfortunate that
Freight Forwarders are the “weeping child” because we have refused to
resolute ourselves arising from unhealthy competition. We engage in too
much rivalry, whereas the “sky is wide enough for birds to fly without
disturbing one another” It might be bitter but let me say this, it is
folly for practitioners to believe that government will blink on matters
of revenue.

“The way to go is to imbibe the culture of genuine and proper declaration
of import and export transactions for Customs purposes and other related
regulatory agencies of the government operating in our ports and Boarder
stations. I do hope that the Council for the Regulation of Freight
Forwarding in Nigeria shall take responsibility to regulate and control
freight forwarding profession in Nigeria in line with statutory duty. I am
worried, I have been reading from various news papers, online reporters
and electronic media wherein some leaders of the Association in the
Freight Forwarding Practice are throwing stones from glass to houses. It
is a primary duty for us to protect our client’s investment rather than
causing an action that shall lead to destruction. I have noted cases of
blackmail of the office of the AIG Maritime which has resulted to the
involvement of Nigeria Shippers Council in cargo operations and of course
the most recent which involved the FOU and CGC Strike Force.

“On this note, I wish to advise the leadership of the various Freight
Forwarding Associations to be guided in their utterances in the interest
of the investments of our clients. It is our patriotic duty to consider
the economic and indeed overall interest of the country in all our
dealings at and around Customs Ports.

“It is my opinion that an action that seems to constitute a barrier to
trade is a barrier to National development. Let us always strive to be
circumspect in all our actions for the good of the greater numbers and
indeed Nigeria International Trade. I may make further statement in due
course.

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