NAGAFF petitions IG over alleged excesses of Maritime Police





National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, has alerted the Inspector General of Police over what it described as illegal operations, sending alerts to shipping companies, blocking of consignments, arrest and detention of containers in and around the Lagos ports by the Maritime Police.

The petition signed by Ibrahim Tanko, National Coordinator of NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team and copied to the President of Nigeria, His Chief of Staff, Minister for Transportation, Permanent Secretary in the Transportation Ministry, Chairman ICPC, Director DSS, and Chairman Senate Committee on Marine among others alleged that the Maritime Police during the regime of the immediate past Police boss, “inhibited fast clearance of containers by sending letters or alerts  to shipping companies  and  terminals asking them not to release containers that usually have undergone the statutory processes by the Nigerian Customs Services and other government approved agencies in the ports.

According to the petition, “These activities caused undue delays, demurrages, double payment to the shipping companies and terminal operators thereby occasioning heavy financial burden and extreme hardship to teeming members.”

Their activities according to the petition caused a lot of challenges and often hindered trade facilitation and revenue drive of the federal government, adding, “These made us to then engage the shipping and terminal operators and threatened industrial action.

“However since the advent of the new administration, the officers and men of the Maritime Police have not only resumed these activities but also even more daring.  They do not only block the release of containers, from shipping companies, they also arrest and detain containers on the roads and even allegedly go into fisticuffs with the officers of Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service.

The letter noted that the Maritime police is not a revenue generating agency,  maintaining, “assuming there are alleged infractions  on the side of our members , the most appropriate thing to do  is for the attention of the designated Port Police to be drawn or other government agencies, adding, “ what actually are the Maritime Police looking for.

The letter recalled that the Customs have often than not arrested number of containers from different ports laden with guns and ammunition. “They have also arrested containers fraught with hard drugs in joint operations with the NDLEA, as seen in the media and seldom seizures are made. This shows that the Customs and other government approved agencies are working in harmony. But we have not witnessed any of the above mentioned arrests made by the Maritime Police.

“The Maritime police usually demands documents that have nothing to do whatsoever with their mandate, such documents as the bill of lading, form M, original Customs license, original certificate of incorporation, Pre arrival assessment report, PAAR,  etc as if they are checking vehicle particulars. Most astonishing is the fact that all these documents are in the Customs system. They do these activities in connivance with the shipping companies obtaining shipping manifests with which they carry out the complained blockages.

NAGAFF among other complaints implored the IG of Police “to call the Maritime Police to order and save the ports from imminent restiveness that may paralyze business activities and further cause economic loess to government revenue.”



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