By Chinonye Anyatonwu.
Former Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Apapa Chapter, Dr. Fred Ajuzie has frowned at the impending takeover of the freight forwarders’ job by foreigners at the Nigerian port which he says is unprofessional as the job is exclusively reserved for Nigerians alone.
In a chat with some journalists in his office, recently in Lagos, Ajuzie said that Nigerians were the ones who register the companies as front for the foreigners who would now step in immediately the incorporation process was over.
“For you to get a customs license, you must have your company incorporated by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Who is the one following up the registration process with the CAC? Who is the MD of the proposed company? Who are the Directors? If you care to find out, you will discover that the whole Directors on the list are Nigerians before the company will scale through registration at the CAC to become a company only for a white man to appear thereafter to become the Chief Operating Officer of the company. They can enlist Nigerians as the Directors but no share will be allotted to them.”
According to Ajuzie, ” In Benin Republic, where you go to clear your goods, as a Nigerian, you are not allowed to enter the port, you can only submit your documents to the agent, he goes into the port, clears the goods , brings the cargo out to for you to take away, that is the ideal thing to do, you can only asses your cargo over there once it has been cleared for you by indigenes there.
Ajuzie, who is currently the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Pat-Fuze Logistics, observed that when he was a former Chairman of NAGAFF, they were at the forefront of not allowing Indians, Chinese and Lebanese to get into customs zones adding that because Nigerians were so naïve, they would be ready to offer all manner of assistance to the foreigners to enable them have access into the customs zone to carry out jobs meant for licensed customs agents who he said were supposed to be Nigerians.
He said, “I remember vividly that there was a time I had something to do with the PCA, when I entered PCA, I found out that it was a white man that was there and they asked me to wait that Oga is busy. I now used my power as Chairman to say even if he is busy let me reach him. On getting to that place, it was a white man that was there, I drove him away.
“The (white) man was afraid, I asked the man to vacate that place and I went to the head the PCA, former Comptroller Bash that is now retired, he was the O/C PCA and a DC as at then and I reported the matter. He was so much angry and summoned the AC and asked him if he was not aware that the Chairman was around that he asked him to wait.
He continued, “Sometimes, in the port there, I see Indians and I will say, come my friend, if it is in your country, will you allow black man to get to this point? Who even brought you to the port? But you know, even, the customs are guilty of this development. Why do you ask these white men to come in person? Because you want to get the money. Why not discuss with the person they have already fronted?
“But one of them that I interview on why he allowed the white man to follow him to the port said that they usually sign an agreement with the white men that when it comes to dealing with the customs, they (Nigerians) don’t discuss with any customs officer, that they (white men) will come themselves. At the end of the day, when you look at the man they are using as front, he looks skeletal and scanty while the white man he is coming to defend looks so robust and at the end of the day, the white man will leave the port in his Pajero jeep leaving the Nigerian front to trek all the way home because you don’t know your right.”
Ajuzie insisted that even customs are guilty of these allegation because they allows these whites into the port.
According to him, “If a customs officer says my friend, why are you here? You are not supposed to be here. Where is your representative? Do you think the man will go there again? Look at the Customs Licensed Agents Act and their CEMA, these things are there, the man you issued a licensed to which you have come to examine his company before you issue him license is a black man but you are seeing a white man and you don’t want to say anything. so everybody is guilty here.”
On the issue of African Continental Free Trade Agreement(AFCFTA), he said its a good thing thing for Nigeria but the problem is how to put it in practice, every policy need to be implemented, we have laws, they are there but not implemented.
He continued,” there are lots of people who are aged, yet they continue struggling, going after money they will not even enjoy, somebody being in senate for 20yrs, at the age of 80yrs still want to be there when he has grandchild that can handle such post,” he lamented.
“Why can’t Nigerians make things good for the people, until we start thinking right, we cannot get it done.”
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