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Relief Networks - donated books facing heavy Port charges in Lagos Nigeria - Rescue action invited!

Books being organized for shipping in Houston

When I got the news yesterday that the donated books we shipped into Nigeria with free cargo and container were being assessed horrendous Custom Duty and storage charges at the ports, I felt terribly grieved... and see the heartless nature of the gatekeepers or policy makers in Nigeria as horrible. Over N1.5 million (NAIRA, equivalent to about $5,500 above what we've already spent - approx. $1,800 to date working with an agent). The bulk of the cost is in storage charges and duty. The ministry has no such budget to fuck over to them if they cannot understand that these are all donated items and not to be resold.

Delays in getting the container cleared was caused mainly by complicated demand for one document after another, with no clear policy from the Government or the banks that work with them as to what is required for this type of import and what's not. Our agent also had an unfortunate development of losing his wife to months of kidney failure and dialysis within a week of books arrival - causing additional distraction and delays in clearing of the books.

These have resulted in over 118 days extra in daily port charges that is close to $3,000 of the total amount we are being assessed and expected to pay. Anyone with any ideas on how rescue us here, or who to connect up with, or contact to assist with cutting down these charges in Nigeria should InBox me, or anyone interested in helping us settle these charges is invited to help ASAP. Deadline given is July 29th.

The ministry has made some sacrifices by investing some money and volunteer hours in gathering, documenting, and shipping these books - a big investment from the our donors and Intermarine that shipped them with free Ocean freight - a value of over $3,500 in and of itself. And we do not wish to loose these books and the container that will hold our workshop tools until our building is completed. We must make sure they get in the hands of the poor and needy as intended by the donors. I cannot stand the thought or have the guts to tell the donors that the books were ceased by Nigerian Government or wrestled away from the charity through extortion. This type of thing continues to happen everyday in Nigeria - making it perhaps the most difficult country to do charity business in... tell me if you know of another country worse in this manner than Nigeria.

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