The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), has expressed dismay over alleged anti-trade antics by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria describing it as an allusion of the regulatory agency.
NAGAFF which has consistently joined issues with SON over alleged illegal interception and seizure on Lagos highways backed by Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel, of imports already cleared from the ports and border stations by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The latest intervention of NAGAFF on the matter came through a press release made available to The Tide in Lagos, and signed by NAGAFF Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who was emphatic that SON’s enabling law did not grant the agency the powers to impound goods with teams of Mobile Police personnel, Lagos highways.
Aniebonam said: “Whereas Nigerians, as consumers of imported and locally manufactured goods, appreciate the essence of quality assurances and standards of goods, there is the need for SON operatives to respect and observe the enabling laws controlling quality assurances and standards of products imported or manufactured in Nigeria”.
The NAGAFF boss, who pointed out that the term “transformation” as in the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan implies rule of law and development in Nigeria, and noted with sadness that SON, as an agency under the supervision of the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, may be operating contrary to the rules and procedures of enforcing its mandate.
“To lay siege on trade is against international protocols within the transit corridor of cargo movement in Nigeria. It also constitutes a threat to the peace and security of freight agents and transit goods in Lagos State.
The armed personnel attached to SON operatives within the city highways of Lagos is scary to freight practitioners and importers. It is procedural and the law that grants SON mandate to enforce quality assurance and standards of products in Nigeria is limited to the owners’ warehouses and premises of manufacturers of goods”, he stated.
He urged Jonathan to call SON to order over its alleged “wanton breach of law and rules of engagement in the course of carrying its mandate in a civil society”, Aniebonam said: adding that the transformation programme of Mr. President may suffer a great setback if the agents of the government like the SON is allowed to act in breach of the law.
The NAGAFF chieftain appealed to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to take interest in the matter, noting that trade is strategic to the economy.