A delegation of the National Task Force on Illegal Importation and Smuggling of Goods, Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons, set up by the Importers’ Association of Nigeria (IMAN) last Thursday got more than it bargained while on a familiarisation visit to the National Secretariat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, as the Association’s leadership queried the body’s claims of authorised existence.
Members of the delegation barely concealed their individual and collective discomfiture, listening to the ANLCA leadership cast doubts about the legality of the task force’s existence.
The ANLCA National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, having listened to the leader of the delegation, the taskforce’s Lagos State Director/Coordinator, Col. Friday Imoko (rtd), state the team’s support- seeking mission, said that, although ANLCA would readily partner with any agency set up to secure lives and property, it is, however, hesitant about partnering with the task force, as it is not aware of the task force’s acclaimed government backing.
He said: “If you want to work sincerely, you work with sincerity. If government set up a process, that process is sent by information to everybody. Till now, there are a lot of our people who believe that your task force is shrouded in secrecy. Tell your hierarchy that if they want any solution or assistance from us they should place their cards on the table openly. Let us know where we are going. If it is something we don’t want to get involved in, we will tell you that we are not interested! All we want you to do is to let the government be aware that you want to be the policemen of your own import, and government will tell us your modality of operations. But we cannot do anything that is not sanctioned by the government.”
To amplify Shittu’s suspicions about the task force’s claims of working with government security agencies, Secretary of ANLCA Apapa Chapter, Sir Frank Obiejesie, narrated an incidence, where he allegedly witnessed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)dismantle a road block set up by the task force on Ijora Bridge.