Clearing agents under the aegis of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) have threatened to sue the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over alleged imposition of Council of Regulation of Freight Forwarders (CRFFN) requirements as condition for issuance of port pass.
President, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, in a letter notifying the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of the planned action, said: "Freight forwarders are not authorised to practice in any seaport, airport and border station, as prescribed in section 30 of the CRFFN Act 2007.
He claimed that licensed agents were the only ones authorised by sections 153 to 156 of CEMA (Amendment Act 61 of Section 1B and 2) to enter, operate and perform their prescribed function of import, export, customs examination and clearance of goods from ports and border stations.
All efforts to reach the NPA for comments proved abortive, as the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Aliyu Abdullahi Goje, did not respond to text messages as at press time.
Amiwero said the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) has overriding authority over the NPA Act on the control of import/export of goods and persons, as prescribed in the NPA Act section 113.
According to him, nothing in the Act is deemed to derogate from the powers conferred on any person under the customs laws as defined in the CEMA Act C 45 of 2004.
Amiwero emphasised that the control of movement of person, vehicles, goods, ships, aircrafts, in and out of the seaport, airport and border station is conferred on Customs by the CEMA Act, while the lead agency for the control of import and export on the clearance of goods is authorised by the Nigerian Customs Service under Port Related Offences, Amendment Act 61 of 1999.