The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has raised the alarm, over recent activities of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to destabilize international trade, noting that the SON, was laying siege and arresting containers within the roads of Lagos State.
The group in a letter to the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and copied the Presidency, the Senate President and the Customs Comptroller General (CGC) signed by the National Deputy President, Ugochukwu Nnadi stressing the need for their urgent interventions, to prevent SON, from ruining the trade further.
“We have noted, based on reports and complaints from the practicing freight forwarders, that the enforcement unit of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), over time, has laid siege and thereby arresting containers within the city roads of Lagos State, Nigeria”, Nnadi, indicated, recalling that the Federal Government of Nigeria had once directed some Government agencies including SON to operate from outside the ports and only be invited by Nigeria Customs Service if they show interest in any particular import if the need arises.
The group was miffed that since the SON is online with NCS, it should know that its operatives would be duly informed if necessary.
“It is very surprising that they are arresting containers on our city roads most times late in the night with a team of Police officers rather than following the rule.
Whereas we shall continue to push for rule of law, the immediate problem has to do with security of cargo and persons because there are several cases of container theft and hijacking by unknown armed men in Lagos State”, Ugochukwu said, warning that except something was urgently done, hoodlums may take advantage of it, with armed men, on possibly to snatch containers at late hours.
The body said it was calling on the NSC to act fast, as an economic regulator, to act fast.
“In all these, Section 23 is very specific that the Council may make rules, not inconsistent with this Act for general and efficient conduct of the functions of the Organisation.
“Whereas it is not our intention to join issues at the moment with SON enforcement unit, as a commercial regulator in our maritime trade and transportation, we want to state that their action is in breach of international trade protocol and practices with its cost implications on cargo in Nigeria.
“It beats one’s imagination how the Enforcement Unit of SON can on their own break the rule by using Police to arrest containers on city high ways of Lagos.