Alleged extortion: NAGAFF Compliance Team petitions AIG Zone 2
The 100% Compliance Team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, has petitioned the Assistant Inspector of Police AIG, Zone 2, Bode Adeyinka Adeleke over alleged unbridled harassment, intimidation, detention and outright extortion of its members by operatives of the Zonal Enquiry Bureau ZEB.
Recall that the ZEB had in a letter of invitation signed by one DCP Umar dated August 26, 2022, asked the Managing Director and Operational Manager of IBRARLEO Nigeria Limited to report to the officer in charge of the Zonal Enquiry Bureau section for a fact finding exercise over a matter which they alleged was reported to the AIG Zone 2, Onikan Lagos.
In a petition signed by the chairman of the 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, the team accused the operatives of the bureau of writing series of invitation letters to them under the guise of facilitating an investigation only for them to be subjected to interrogations about a long-gone consignment.
Copies of the petition were also sent to the Senate Committee on Customs, Deputy Inspector -General of Police (Maritime), Assistant Inspector -General of Police (Maritime), Commissioner of Police, (Western Ports), Nigerian Shippers Council, chairman and Registrar, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN respectively.
In the petition, Tanko who is also a member of Board of Trustees BOT of NAGAFF and member of the governing board of the council of the CRFFN, lamented that his office has been inundated with complaints by aggrieved freight forwarders who accused the bureau of being worse than the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS.
The petition reads in part: “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 its bounds in this instance.
“Electronic bill of lading may pick any of the items from the Form ‘M’, but physical examination document supersedes all other documents. Various Customs units and other government agencies partake in the physical examination. We have Commissioner of Police domiciled at the ports. We also have an AIG (Maritime), who may have cause to write to Customs to reposition a container for re-examination. It is the items duly assessed and released after attestations by the relevant agencies.
“It baffles our association that after this rigorous exercise and the containers long delivered, that another Police unit steps in with a query. If the ZEB wants to be part of cargo examination or revenue collection, it may apply through the right channel and join the physical examination team. It may know better than Customs. Every other day, we are inundated by complaints of aggrieved freight forwarders who accuse the ZEB operatives of being worse than the discredited SARS.”
The group therefore appealed to the AIG to investigate this anomaly in order to bring an end to it, warning that the freight forwarders may resort to other means of ensuring that the affected unit of the Police command desists from such acts, which might also include but not limited to the withdrawal of their services, which might lead to the shutting down of the seaports in the Western Zone of the country.