Barring last minute intervention from government, the aggrieved members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, especially those who ply their trade at the Tin Can Port, have concluded arrangement to disrupt the activities at the port over what they described as mindless extortions and high level of inefficiency at the Tin Can Island Container Terminal, TICT, one of the port concessionaires at the Lagos port.
The irate agents, who ventilated their grievances through the executive members of the Tin Can Island chapter of ANLCA, last week, declared that they are fed up with the unbridled corruption, extortions and official arrogance of the management of TICT which they claimed has made the cost of transaction at the terminal the highest.
The Chairman of the Tin Can Chapter of the association, Prince Kayode Oyinlola, his deputy, Barrister Ada Akpunonu and the Secretary-General of the chapter, My Chucks Kanikwu, in a joint press statement, alleged that TICT operates strange and unorthodox practices which defile all known norms in port operations.
“TICT management colludes with all kind of government agencies at the port to block your Terminal Delivery Order, TDO without which you cannot take delivery of your consignment duly released. This ultimately extends the time of the exit of your goods that will make you pay induced demurrage. In other words, any manner of agency, including the unauthorized ones, could delay the exit of goods on flimsy excuse and write to the terminal operator to delay its exit which the TICP will gleefully oblige. After you part with two to three thousand naira, the blockage is lifted but not without been charged again on demurrage.
“At the TICT, they start charging you demurrage based on the Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of the vessel carrying your containers, even when the vessel is still on the high sea. All this is before you are given your debit note and your container is discharged.
“The Terminal also fleeces the unsuspecting agents through revalidation of TDO. How they do this is that the very day you are given to exit your container and probably due to logistics challenge such as the grid lock on the road and other operational deficiencies of the terminal and you are not able to take out you goods, the validation of your TDO goes 12midnightof that day. You need to go and pay for a revalidation and you have forfeited the earlier payments on rents.
“This may continue as long as those challenges that prevent you to take your goods initially persist.
“This is unlike in other terminals where you are given a grace of 12hours to effect the release of your cargo.
“They have no regards to the laws of the country, especially the work- free days. The terminal charges on all officially-gazette work -free days, including weekends when they do not work; even those days when they provide skeletal services, doing jobs they could not do during the official days such as taking out containers from the vessels and receiving empty containers.
“Ironically, they also charge unsuspecting agents and importers on those days when they are supposed to put their house in order” alleged the ANLCA chiefs.
According to Kanikwu, the terminal operator has defrauded the Importers and their agents to the tune of over one billion naira through the illegal means they made money from these unorthodox practices.
”We have compiled 25 oddities for 25 days that government issued public holidays and we quantified the amount of money they collected from the public for services not rendered which is to the tune of over one billion naira.” , declared the chapter scribe.
Prince Oyinlola stated that the chapter has got the blessing of the National executive council of the association to shut down the terminal.
“We shut down the terminal on Monday June 8th, 2015 for five hours and we are ready to shut it again indefinitely until the management of the terminal drop its extortionist tendencies, its toga of arrogance and other unprofessional conducts”, the ANLCA Tin Can Chairman, threatened.
Apunonu alleged that the management of the terminal, especially the Managing Director, Mr. Etienne Rocher, exhibits uninhibited traces of racism as he has several times rebuffed all attempts of the ANLCA executives to dialogue with him.
“He (TICT MD) does things with unmitigated impunity. He arrogantly said he could not sit with riff-raft to dialogue, dismissing our resolve to protest as empty threat and said that if we close down the terminal , we would be forced to remove the siege when we become hungry”, she alleged.
The ANLCA chief called on the present government to prevail on the management of TICP to give peace a chance and stop their unabashed penchant for extortion.
“We all wanted change and that is why we massively voted for change and the management of the TICT must be forced to embrace change and break from the past practice of compromising our officials to commit economic crime in our country” Akpunonu observed.
The Commercial Manager of the terminal, Mr. Richard Akinbosotu, who was accused as one of the facilitators of the extortionist operations at the terminal, could not be reached for comment.
However, another official implicated in the alleged” extortionist syndicate” in the terminal, simply called Greg, said he was not competent to speak on the issue.
‘Go to the MD at our head office if he wants to talk to you”, he declared bluntly.
All attempts to get Mr. Etienne Rocher at the Polysonic head office of the TICT, Apapa, were frustrated by over-zealous security officials who said the MD does not grant press interview.
It could be recalled that the face- off between the TICT and the agents has become a recurring decimal in the operational activities at the Tin Can port.
Last year, members of the Tin Can Chapter of ANLCA, stormed the Polysonic office of the terminal to protest similar alleged extortion and high-handedness of the port concessionaires.

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