Encourages practitioners to use Indemnity forms
Following the arrest of a freight agent, Otunba Sunday Oyebola by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over alleged drug Importation, the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), has been engaging the NDLEA to resolve the quagmire.
The acting National President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto revealed this during a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, even as he stressed that the arrested ANLCA chieftain, Otunba Oyebola, was a victim who failed to do proper diligence in the contract.
According to Farinto, the name on the bill of laden clearly showed the accused agent wasn’t the importer of the consignment, but the freight agent failed to utilize the indemnity form to exempt his from such liability.
Noting that Oyebola isn’t the importer of the drug but someone contracted to clear the cargo from the Lagos seaport and unaware of what was hidden in the box, the ANLCA President encouraged freight forwarding practitioners to learn from the scenario by prioritizing the use of indemnity forms.
His words: “We called this press briefing to correct the erroneous impression that ANLCA chieftain is involved in the clearance of illicit drugs and psychotropic substance. We also want to reiterate all our efforts in the last few months to enlighten our members on the role to play particularly in the business of cargo clearance.”
“We are collaborating with NDLEA on this matter. It is our responsibility. Otunba Sunday Oyebola is a top member of ANLCA and one of the chapter executives at PTML. He was involved in the clearance of a container said to contain three vehicles, but unfortunately, at the point of examination, some psychotropic substances were found in that container.”
Farinto observed that the association had overtime warned members to ensure signing of indemnity form before deciding to take up a consignment for clearance from an importer.
He lamented that in the last one year, the importation of psychotropic substances have been on the increase, even as he recalled that at the group’s last National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, members were advised to start giving their importers indemnity form.
“At the second NEC meeting, we also advised that members should protect themselves by making sure that importers sign the indemnity form and go a step further by notorising it. If it is notorized, such agent will be on the side of the law. If Otunba Oyebola had yielded to this advice he would have been seen as a friend to NDLEA trying to assist them to unravel the importer,” he said.
The ANLCA boss further disclosed that the association will be engaging the Canadian ambassador on the menace of high influx of illicit drugs into Nigeria through Canada.
Also speaking at the press conference, the National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila said that the association was working closely with NDLEA to solve the problem, adding that Otunba Oyebola is also cooperating with the agency to get the importer.
Mukaila dismissed allegations that Otunba Oyebola was evading NDLEA prior to his arrest, stressing that the man in question was attending public functions for the association until the arrest.
“He is not a drug dealer as being reported but clearing agent who has become a victim. It ’s important that clearing agents do a KYC (Know Your Customer) for their importers so as to protect themselves when the need arises,” the ANLCA National Secretary said.