For sanity in the Nigerian ports sector, port policies and lawful presidential orders must be dutifully enforced by the relevant regulators, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has said.
In a statement Friday, Aniebonam noted that the nation was fighting a borderless war with the Covid-19 pandemic, for which reason an emergency was declared in the ports in efforts to stem its spread.
To that end, he called on the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, to be ruthless with any firm, association or individual who flouts the emergency rules.
Expressing dismay that lawful Presidential orders were being “allegedly breached with impunity by most of the shipping companies and terminal operators on matters of demurrage waiver under the situation,” Aniebonam urged both regulators to alert the police for the offenders’ arrest and criminal prosecution.
However, he urged all freight forwarders spoiling to breach the peace of the ports over the accused firms’ alleged non-compliance with the directives to exercise restraint, adding: “It is not your fight but that of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“It is sad and regrettable that most of the service providers in our ports administration and management have become islands onto themselves in a sovereign state like Nigeria, our dream country.
“We call upon (the Minister of Transportation) Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and his officers, Usman and Bello, to take responsibility and arrest the heads of the various shipping companies and terminal operators found in breach of the lawful directives of the President.”
According to him, the president of NAGAFF shall be accountable if any member is part of any disorder in the ports at this moment of Covid-19 pandemic. More so, the coming weeks calls for more action on sanitary conditions, including social distancing, washing of hands and the use of hand sanitiser, Aniebonam said.
He further urged all freight forwarders to be conversant with all instructions from the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), which regulates the profession in Nigeria.
Part of that, according to him, is the use of the CRFFN on-duty card for proper identification by the security agencies, while those who have no duty at the ports should stay away and stay safe.