The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have commended the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Charles Edike, for ensuring that only genuine agents who have business to do at the ports are allowed access to operate at the APM Terminals customs office platform.
Edike had penultimate Thursday directed all agents operating at the customs office located at APM Terminals, Apapa to vacate the area and relocate to their own offices outside the port.
The freight forwarders who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY said that the idea is not to chase genuine agents from operating at the ports but to control and discourage loitering at the port.
National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, who applauded the directive, stated that many importers have been duped by what he called “office-less agents.”
He said part of the requirement as an agent is to have an operational office noting that the practice where people loiter around the nation’s port is in contrast with international best practices.
“Part of the requirement for you to be a licensed customs agent which is a prerequisite for you to be in the port is that you must have an office, so if you have nothing doing in the ports, what do you go there to idle away for? In other ports, you don’t see people loiter not even in Benin Republic, but we have turned the port to a place where jobless people will come and gather and everybody now look for advantage,” he said.
Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Apapa Chapter, Olumide Fakanlu also commended the move, noting that the port should not be a relaxation spot.
“Only agents who have work to do are allowed in. Even if you are a licensed agent and you don’t have any clearing to do, you are not supposed to be in the port. Stay in your office and relax because the port is not a resting place,” he said.
On his part, Chairman, Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Apapa Chapter, Fred Ajuzie, said that the directive of the customs boss is a good measure to rid the terminal of idle agents and touts.