Freight forwarders groan under inefficiency of Shippers’ Council

Increase Uche

Increase Uche

The need for complete overhaul of the operations of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has been brought to the fore with the freight forwarders lamenting poor enforcement by the agency.

This situation according to the freight forwarders has further worsened the violation of shipping rule by the operators at the ports.

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), has therefore petitioned the Presidency in a letter tittled: ‘“the need for the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to have an enforcement unit to effectively carry out its mandate as a commercial regulator”.

Also copied in the petition were; the Attorney General of the Federation, National Security Adviser; Inspector General of Police; Director General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); and the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The Petition signed by the Deputy National President NAGAFF, Increase Uche, and obtained by The Guardian reads: “As critical operators in the maritime sector of our economy, we have observed that things are not going on well as some operators have descended into the arena of impunity and conflict to carry on as if we don’t have laws. This level of disdain for the law we have observed is predicated on the fact that the offences as provided for in the Nigerian Shippers’ Act are not being obeyed and enforced.

“The Shippers’ Council as the commercial regulator has the statutory responsibility equally to punish offenders by bringing them to justice. The delegated powers of the Executive President of the Federation of Nigeria refers under Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“This, we believe can be effectively carried out if the Shippers’ Council can be enabled by way of creating an enforcement unit with the backing of the relevant enforcement agencies to apprehend and bring to book those who breach the provisions of the Act setting up the Council as a commercial regulator of the ports.

“We appeal to you to use your good office to invoke Section 9 of the Act to liaise with the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the federation and the Inspector General of Police to work out the modalities for creating and manning this unit.

“This has already been done by NAFDAC and SON respectively, though SON has been in the abuse of Police presence in their operations. We cannot continue to operate and manage our ports in a manner as if we do not have government in place in our ports.

“In the instance whereby a government agency like SON shall continue to operate in breach of the Act establishing it is not only embarrassing but a shameful act. It is on record that SON has continued to arrest and detain goods cleared out of the ports along the city and federal highways of Nigeria in breach of its statute to operate at the factory of manufacture or warehouses where commercial goods of their interest are kept is an act of sabotage to the mantra of “change” and good governance in Nigeria,” it stated.

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