In an escalating conflict over alleged illegal activities by the maritime police, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has issued a stern warning to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun. In a letter penned by the National Coordinator of NAGAFF’s 100% Compliance Team, Ibrahim Tanko, the association accused the maritime police of unlawful operations, including the arrest and detention of shipping containers at Lagos Ports.
The correspondence, dated August 22nd, indicated the association’s readiness to shut down the ports if the situation remains unaddressed. Tanko expressed concerns over rising tension in the port areas due to these alleged illicit activities.
Tanko’s letter, titled ‘Petition against the maritime police for illegal operations, sending of alerts to shipping companies, blocking of consignments, arrest and detention of containers in and around the Lagos ports,’ called on the Inspector General to intervene and prevent potential disruptions to port operations which could lead to significant economic losses.
The freight forwarders accused the maritime police of not only obstructing the release of containers from shipping companies but also arresting and detaining containers on the roads. They claimed these actions are damaging the ease of doing business in the ports, leading to extortion from freight forwarders.
Tanko challenged the role of the maritime police as a revenue-generating agency. He praised the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for their effective collaboration in arresting containers carrying contraband, including arms and drugs. Tanko emphasized that these arrests were achieved without the involvement of the maritime police.
According to Tanko, the maritime police’s actions are causing undue stress and financial burden to freight forwarders, citing their demands for irrelevant documents and allegations of large-scale monetary extortion. He attributed the collapse of many freight businesses and health-related deaths to the actions of the maritime police.
IMAGE: Ships and Ports