The 100% Compliance Team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) , has petitioned the Assistant Inspector of Police(AIG), Alkali Baba Usman over unbridled harassment, intimidation, detention and outright extortion of their members by officers of the Zonal Enquiry Bureau (ZEB).
National Chairman of the 100% Compliance Team of NAGAFF, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim in a petition letter copied to the Senate Committee on Customs, Deputy Inspector -Genera of Police(Maritime), Assistant Inspector -Genera of Police (Maritime), Commissioner of Police, (Western Ports), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Governing Board Chairman of CRFFN and the Registrar of CRFFN, accused the Bureau of writing series of invitation letters to freight forwarders under the guise of investigation only for them to be subjected to interrogations about long-gone consignments.
Recall that the Zonal Enquiry Bureau (ZEB) had in a letter of invitation dated 26th of August 2022 requested the Managing Director/Operational Manager IBRARLEO Nigeria Limited to report to the officer in-charge of Zonal Enquiry Bureau Section with GSM No 08033212139 signed by DCP Umar for a fact finding exercise on a matter which they alleged was reported to the Assistant General of Police Zone 2 Police Command headquarters, Onikan – Lagos Nigeria.
Alhaji Tanko, who doubles as a board member of NAGAFF and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), lamented that his office is inundated with complaints of aggrieved freight forwarders who accused the Bureau of being worse than the discredited SARS.
Part of the petition reads: “We write to express our profound frustrations at the unbridled harassment, intimidation, detention and outright extortion of our members by the above named unit in your headquarters. Invitation letters are written to our members under the guise of facilitating an investigation only for them to be subjected to needless interrogations about a long-gone consignment.”
“A form ‘M’ may have multiple items listed but only one or two may be imposed at a point in time, granted that they may have access to the manifest, it may not tell the full story. Subsequent imports may include the rest. We insist that the Bureau may be over stepping their bounds in this instance. Electronic Bill of lading may pick any of the items from the Form ‘M’, but physical examination supercedes all other document.”
The group noted that various Customs units and other government agencies partake in the physical examination, a Commissioner of Police domiciled in the ports as well as AIG (Maritime) who may have cause to write to Customs to reposition a Container for re-examination.
“It baffles our association that after this rigorous exercise and the containers long delivered, another Police unit steps in with a query. If the ZEB wants to be part of the examination or revenue collection, they may apply to the right channel and join the physical examination. They may know better than Customs. Every other day, we are inundated by complaints of aggrieved freight forwarders who accuse the ZEB of being worse than the discredited SARS,” the letter stated.
He appealed to the Police boss to investigate this anomaly in order to bring an end to it, stressing that would lead to withdrawal of their services and shutting down of ports in the Western Zone.