The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has dragged the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mohammed Bashir; Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Inspector-General of Police before the temple of justice to stop collection of CRFFN’s Practitioners Operating Fee (POF).
Also joined in the suit brought before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos were the Attorney-General of the Federation; National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC); National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA); the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, Nigeria (AREFFN); National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO); Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL) and the West Africa Container Terminal Association (WACTA).
In a Motion on Notice filed by Ayodele Olaniyi Esq. on its behalf, ANLCA is asking the court to grant an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants by themselves, their agents, servants, employees, assigning, representatives and/or privies from further collection of the Practitioners Operating Fees pending when the Governing Council of the CRFFN will be elected and or re-constituted and pending the final determination of the suit.
ANLCA is also seeking an order of manadatory injunction restraining the 3rd defendant (Inspector-General of Police) from using his instrument of office to coerce and intimidate its members into paying “the illegitimate fees” pending “when the Court will make its final pronouncement on the matter”.
In a sworn affidavit in support of the Motion on Notice, ANLCA National Publicity Secretary, Kayode Farinto averred that by virtue of the Act which established the 2nd defendant (CRFFN), the Council is only empowered to collect the fees through its Governing Council.
He claimed that the Governing Council has since been dissolved and the Registrar of CRFFN assumed the duty of generally overseeing the affairs of the Council.
Farinto claimed that consequently, the 1st defendant ordered the Registrar to commence collection of the POF “which is an exclusive duty of the Governing Council which is not in place”.
He also claimed that the- 3rd Defendant took side with the defendants and used his office to intimidate the claimant on their refusal to pay the said fee, thereby necessitating the legal action.
He also requested for an order compelling the defendants to pay N50million in damages to the association.
“That the award of damages will never be sufficient for the psychological trauma the claimants have suffered from the defendants via constant harassment and intimidation of their members by the 3rd defendant especially,” Farinto claimed in the affidavit.
He said it would be in the interest of justice if the status quo ante bellum is maintained pending the final determination of the case and that unless the respondents are restrained, they would “continue to forcefully collect the fees from members illegitimately and a situation of a fait accompli will be foisted on the Honourable Court”.
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