14 vehicles in Clarion terminal : No retreat, no surrender – Alhaji Tanko insists

Alhaji Tanko

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14 vehicles in Clarion terminal :
No retreat, no surrender –Alhaji Tanko insists

 * Says allegation of settling with Clarion management false, misleading

Alhaji Tanko

The controversy surrounding 14 vehicles allegedly trapped in Clarion Bonded Terminal is taking a new dimension, as the 100% Compliance Team of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), says no going back on its determination to retrieve the vehicles.

The National Coordinator of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, who is known for his open-door policy insisted on getting the 14 vehicles out of the offdock facility against all odds.

Speaking on the latest development, Alhaji Tanko disclosed that Clarion in a deliberate attempt to thwart his effort in getting the 14 trapped vehicles, dragged him to Zone – 2 Police Command Lagos, for alleged threat to life and disappearance of 15 vehicles from its premises during picketing of the facility recently.

His explanation :
“The 100% Compliance Team picketed Clarion Bonded Terminal on Monday, April 4, 2022, carrying placards with different inscriptions, demanding
for the release of 14 vehicles allegedly trapped at the terminal since last year, 2021, on condition that they must pay over N8 million as unpaid assessment linked to the licensed customs agency handling them, identified as Ajaji Continental Limited.

“The 14 vehicles must be brought out of Clarion terminal and we will bring them to NAGAFF for everyone to see. This is the issue on ground.  People don’t know my background. Before I take any drastic step on issue, I must exhaust all avenues for dialogue. So, it is only when dialogue fails that I take action.”

Alhaji Tanko emphasised that the Compliance Team followed due process in picketing the terminal.
He pointed out :
“As a team, we don’t just act unilaterally on issues in the industry.
Before picketing the terminal, we wrote Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the Customs; Commissioner of Police, Ports and others. We officially informed the Founder of NAGAFF and our President.

“One Mr Frank, who wrote the petition against me is the same Frank, who claimed earlier that he knew nothing about the 14 vehicles, when he was approached in the absence of the owner of the terminal.

“You can see the twist !
Now, the same Frank of Clarion, who earlier claimed lack of knowledge on the fate of the 14 vehicles is the brain behind the petition to Nigeria Police”.

Tanko insisted :
“No amount of intimidation or blackmail can deter our team from retrieving the vehicles from Clarion terminal.  We decided to play low following intervention by the new Customs Area Controller (CAC), of TinCan Island Port (TCIP) Command, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyode.

“The CAC, who is new to the Command requested for a fresh letter of complaint to understand fully what transpired, in order to resolve the matter. That request had been complied with.”

Alhaji Tanko informed :
“Also, we responded to the invitation by Police at Zone – 2, and had written a response to the petition by Clarion. We equally briefed the Commander on intervention by the Area Controller of TinCan, who waded into the matter.

“The Police fixed May 10, 2022 for the two parties to meet with them, if need be, depending on the outcome of the CAC’s intervention.”

He expressed optimism that Compt Oloyode, whom he described as experienced and seasoned officer, will be able to resolve the matter amicably.

Tanko said that ever since the crisis started, he has been receiving a lot of threats from many quarters but vowed that there is no going back until the 14 vehicles are released.

His assertions;
“As far as I am concerned, only God gives and takes life. Almost on daily basis I’m being threatened ever since this thing happened, even before then. I’m not bothered, as long as I know I’m doing the right thing”.

On allegation that Compliance team issues empty threat to shipping companies and other agencies as mere bargaining chip for self aggrandizement, Tanko said this is a figment of their detractors imagination, who do not want the industry to progress.

He stressed :
‘Our Team has the capability to strike but restrained by the Registrar of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Barr. Samuel Nwakohu, who said we must not act without authorisation of the regulator.

“For instance, after issuing the picketing notice, we were ready to act before the Registrar of CRFFN called us to stop; that we cannot do anything without the permission of CRFFN as our regulator.

“That was what slowed us down.
We waited but nothing has been heard from them yet. Nobody paid or intimidated us to stop. It’s just that the CRFFN slowed us down and we’re still waiting for them”

More so, Alhaji Tanko denied insinuations in some quarters that he uses the Clarion issue to settle old scores with the terminal, stressing that he never met the terminal owner ever before, let alone doing any business there.

“People will always say whatever they like. I don’t know the Clarion woman, neither have I ever met her before. If I see her now, I won’t be able to recognise her. It was the issue of 14 vehicles that made us go to the place, nothing more”, he said.

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