A former member of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA), Sir John Oforbuike has come under a heavy attack over his allegations against the 100 % Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF)
Sir Oforbuike had in an interview with an online Media accused the !00% Compliance Team led by Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko of using its platform to intimidate Customs officers
Speaking to Newsmen recently in Lagos, the Chief of Staff to the National Coordinator of the Team, Mr. Bath Okeke described the allegations as untrue and unfounded.
”I wish to address you gentlemen of the Press in reaction to what one John Oforbuike said in an interview last week to an online Journal. Those of us in the Industry have read it and we need to react so as to remove all doubts about my team, 100% Compliance Team of NAGAFF and the position of our National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko.
”Honestly, I said in our local forum that when a man loses relevance, he starts grabbing at straws. He is trying to hang on to some bits of relevance in the Industry For Instance, if he is relevant, what is his position in ANLCA? None. If he is relevant, how come no single person from his Association or his group has supported what he has said in the interview. None. Check the trend, check everywhere, check all the papers, even online journals, nobody had reacted to his rascally allegations.
”How can he say that the Compliance Team intimidates Customs Officers because when we get jobs, we try to blackmail them, That is not true. This was same thing he did sometime ago. He wrote one frivolous petition against my Coordinator and we went all to answer the query to the blackmail and he was asked to come and make further statements to clarify his allegations , he disappeared into the thin air. So how do you now react to this kind of things that he is saying now? Then how do you now get to the integrity of the profession. Do you just open your mouth wide and make wild allegations without substance”?
Fwdr. Okeke reiterated that the Team was not established for self aggrandisement rather to educate importers, traders, anybody in the maritime Industry. ”that we are all out to assist Government to meet its revenue targets and even exceed them , so that we will have a free flow of trade in our ports and border stations. That is why NAGAFF set up the Compliance Team.”
The Chief of Staff to the Compliance Team National Coordinator stressed that their job is to find ways of synergy with Customs. No intimidation, adding that the team’s message is, ”for all to do the right thing, Customs do the right thing, freight forwarders do the right thing. Is it when you go to Customs officer for example and tell him
Sir or Madam please this is what we think about this consignment, this is what we think about the policy, this is our view about it. We now hear from them and then have a symbiotic relationship about the matter. We don’t intimidate any one.”
”First, we educate ourselves. Education, Education, Education, that’s our mantra. My National Coordinator has spent his personal funds to drive this mission and if we allow people like Mr. Ofobuike to disparage this effort, it makes mockery of human endeavors. When you see a good thing, why not you support it? If he has issues with Vice President of his former Association because as am talking to you, he doesn’t belong anywhere. He had been expelled long ago from ANLCA and so, he has no costal point for which to speak as a leader so to say as he was labelled at the interview, for ANLCA. If he had a personal quarrel for a seating Vice President of an Association, that is his own cup of tea, it is his business, but let him not drag NAGAFF and Compliance Team into their mess. We are out of it.
”Over time, you people have been coming and seeing what the Compliance Team has been doing. You followed us on a nationwide tour. You saw how we were received everywhere. You saw our message and our education in the maritime Industry. So that’s my own rebuttal on whatever he has said about my National Coordinator and his Team,100% Compliance Team.
In his reaction also , Mr Joshua Adamu, a seasoned clearing agent described Sir Ofobuike as someone who has lost relevance after his tenure as the Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent(ANLCA) Tin Can Island Chapter, stressing by doing that , he wants to pull down some people who had been doing well especially the !00% Compliance Team of NAGAFF headed by
Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko.
Mr Adamu restated that the compliance team job is to ensure that both the freight forwarders and players in the industry do the right thing, being compliant to the rules of the trade.
”For example, if you say you are carrying fridges in your container and you have 100 of them in your container, the compliant team is saying you should declare what you have in the container, and when you do that, you can walk your head high. No Custom officer , strike force, Custom Police that can stop your container. Anytime they stop your container at the cost of conveying them, you stay there, open it for them, they take it FOU, open it for them. The moment they see that your declaration is honest, they will let you go. That is the message the compliance team wants you to know, but for Oforbuike to come out and say that the compliance team is intimidating Customs officers is unfounded
Photo: Chief of Staff to National Coordinator, 100%Compliance Team, Fwdr. Beth Okeke.