The Maritime Integrity Initiative (MII), a maritime advocacy group, has called on the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) to take action against Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko for his highly unethical behavior.
In a press release issued by the MII’s Public Relations Officer, Fwdr Obinna Austin Obidile, the group expressed its disappointment with Tanko’s consistent use of blackmail and baseless accusations against indigenous Bonded Terminal Operators and other stakeholders.
The group believes that the actions were deemed to be motivated by his own selfish interests.
The statement partly reads: “Maritime Integrity Initiative is shocked by the constant exhibition of impunity and unconscionable conduct of Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim and his team. Overtime, we have watched in displeasure how maritime association leaders jettison very key issues that should be brought to the front burners and rather choose to divert attention to areas that are not of collective importance.”
“Maritime Integrity Initiative (MII) wish to remind Ibrahim Tanko and his team that he who goes to equity must go with clean hands, and anyone pointing a finger at another must be sensible enough to know that other fingers are pointing at him.”
“The unfounded allegations of circumvention of trade rules and other criminalities leveled against Bonded Terminal Operators by NAGAFF Compliance Team is diversionary to say the least. For the team to ignore the consistent increase in Tariff from $422 to $581 and now $770 in less than one month is on its own an issue of great concern, and to our chagrin, the ugly development is not giving Tanko and his team any concern rather they chose to incite the new Customs administration against Maritime Practitioners because of selfish reasons.”
“We wish to hereby state categorically clear, that Tanko and his team are not representing the interest of the generality of freight forwarders by gaslighting private enterprises. They should know that a lot of agents are losing their clients on daily basis due to very harsh policies being churned out by the government, businesses are being emasculated and no one is talking about these policies but a group of people make out time writing petitions against Bonded Terminal Operators even without verifiable proofs.”
“The activities of people like Tanko Ibrahim and his team should also be investigated, not only that of Bonded Terminal Operators, anyone calling for investigation of another must also make himself available for investigation. Tanko should make his Agency available for investigation if at all he has no skeleton in his cupboard. We expect him to come out and condemn unfriendly policies of the government, people are losing their livelihoods, importers are being frustrated out of business and someone is somewhere making spurious allegations just to curry favour.”
“Maritime Integrity Initiative (MII) is urging the CGC to review some of the policies implemented by his predecessor, he should revise some VATs and levies slammed on some imports and order his men to quit the ports corridors. It does not speak well of Customs that its Officers position their patrol vans after every two hundred meters flagging down containers duly examined and released by Senior Officers and other government agencies for reexamination and extortion, we call upon the new CGC to call his officers and men to order because the image of the organization is at stake. He should quickly sanitize the system.”
“We call on NAGAFF to call Tanko Ibrahim and his team to order as they are doing the industry more harm than good. Tanko should come out boldly to condemn the high-handedness and gross impunity of some Customs Officers whom by exploitative demands create bottlenecks to hamper trade facilitation. So Tanko Ibrahim and his team should focus more on issues bordering on freight forwarders and stop the clout chasing.”
“We have gone through the protest letter signed by Fwdr. Ibrahim Tanko, National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team captioned “The worrisome sabotage of Bonded Terminal Operators: its negative effects on revenue generation and national security, dated 29th June, 2023, and addressed to the Acting Comptroller General of Customs in which Tanko claimed that it took NAGAFF three years to sensitize its members alongside other prospective freight forwarders to comply with Customs regulations and on the need to do the right thing, and that about 40- 45% of freight forwarders are complying and that those who do the right thing are daily stifled and suffocated with all kinds of alerts, delays, as well as heavy financial losses in demurrage payments to Terminal Operators and Shipping Companies.”
“Inasmuch as we are not disputing the allegation by Tanko and his team, but we are need to know why they did not oppose any of these operational bottlenecks and Professional rascality all these years, all associations leaders went into their shells as Customs under Col. Hameed Ali Rtd., kept churning out policies that impoverished freight forwarders, humiliated and stripped them of their dignity as many were pushed of business.”
“The Acting Comptroller General of Customs must not lose focus, we urge him not to take some of these people seriously as they do not have the interest of freight forwarders at heart but have ulterior motives, which chief amongst them, is to curry favour. These are people who hijack jobs from their colleagues and intercept importers by casting others in bad light. We know the new CGC as a thorough bred Officer and we believe in his intelligence and professional ingenuity to positively turn the sector around,” the group stated.