By Omenihu Alfred fibmn

 National Association of Government approved frieght forwarders (NAGAFF ) has re-iterated the need for the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the 2021 Election into the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to consult widely before taking critical decisions. This is because CRFFN belongs to the freight forwarders of Nigeria under the supervision of the Government of the Federation.

In a statement duely signed by it’s national pro, Stanley Ezenga, NAGAFF stated this ” It is to NAGAFF that the Chairman of the electoral Committee may not have visited Onne Port in the last five years to appreciate the difficulties accessing Onne port area of the Rivers state. The road leading to Onne is a nightmare for the port users and the general public. Indeed, Onne town is not an appropriate venue for the screening exercise of the Contestants and the members of the screening Committee at the moment.”

“Tne need to take into consideration the security of the state generally is equally very important. Therefore, Mr. Chairman may wish to consult widely in his actions generally. We regret to note that CRFFN Secretariat may not be directly involved in this election. We equally noted that only two nominees of the CRFFN Secretariat officials were nominated into the Council election engagement. This may have introduced elements of suspicion on the credibility of the election at the moment in terms of adequate supervision, record keeping and data processing. That means that one out of the three zones will not have a CRFFN Secretariat staff represented. This is suspicious due to inadequate representation. It is also surprising that none of the five registered Associations was given any role to play in the election schedules thus suggesting that something is wrong somewhere again.
It is alleged that some individuals in the freight forwarding business may be influencing the decisions of the Electoral Committee. The internal conflict in one of our sister Associations is not adding value to the growth and development of CRFFN over time. Therefore, the capacity of CRFFN to regulate and control freight forwarding practice in Nigeria may be a suspect. Otherwise, appropriate action should have been taken to bring the group to justice. The truth must be told that the current leadership in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) should be supported and allowed to administer the Association to the glory of God and the society. It is surprising that the Tony Iju led ANLCA have been avoidably disturbed and distracted by those who may have enjoyed the support of others during their tenure as Presidents and Board of Trustees members. What stops those avoidable detractors to be patient and vote out the leadership (if they so wish) at the election time.”

“The alleged blackmail of the fact that CRFFN secretariat may not be interested in undertaking election into the Governing Board is cheap because the Hon. Minister under Section five of the Council act is in-charge of giving direction and character of CRFFN administration. It is therefore surprising that the venue of the Election is taken to Abuja other than Lagos. May we therefore draw the attention of the Chairman of the Electoral Committee to the ugly experiences of the maiden election in Abuja under the Transportation ministry/Nigeria Shipper’s Council specifically. The records are there at the CRFFN Secretariat to show that the maiden election was extensively rigged using touts from Abuja motor parks and University students duly rented for the purposes of the election. It is equally on record that arrests were made to the knowledge of late Captain Admu Biu without prosecution. Indeed Mr. Lucky Amiwero approached the court in that regard. Mr. Chairman till today CRFFN is yet to recover from the criminal act that divided the freight forwarding family of Nigeria. Mr Chairman today and again you may be playing into the hands of the same people innocently if you conduct election in Abuja. The situation on ground at the moment which is subject to your verification is that the process of recruiting touts and University students at Abuja at the cost of ten thousand naira each have started.
The registration is ongoing online in the CRFFN portal. The reason for this criminal act is simple for Mr. Chairman to understand. It is about winning election by all means through the back door by the moneybags and non-practioners. It is important to note that Abuja as a voting centre has a serious logistics problem moving well over 85% of voters from Lagos zone. Therefore, the need for you to listen to constructive engagement is strategic for the success, progress and peace of the Council.”

“Mr Chairman sir, it seems to us that you may need to be more conversant and familiar with the intendment of CRFFN Act and its establishment. The key components of CRFFN establishment are in three categories ~~ viz, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, COPORATE MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATIONS. The question now is to ask the reasons for what looks like breaches of the act to negate the relevance of the registered Associations in this election. Take note that some individuals may approach the court to nullify the election if they are not carried along. It is obvious that your actions are in breach of CRFFN Act which accords due recognition to the registered Associations as members. If you are deploying the individual and corporate members for the purposes of election– why are you relegating the third arm of the Council. Therefore, we expect the Chairmen to know that something is not right. Mr Chairman sir, by now you should have realised that CRFFN has been facing avoidable circumstances and challenges from inception. This is because of wrong interpretation of the Act and corruption. In the instance that CRFFN started to fail from inception through breaches of the Act cannot be overemphasised any longer.”

“Therefore our expectations are that damage control mechanism should be optimal at the moment. It shall be a repeat of old mistakes thus relegating the Associations to non-existence. Mr Chairman sir, please listen to NAGAFF most times because CRFFN is our brain child and we know the mischief she is to cure and then set standards of practice for freight forwarding practioners in Nigeria. CRFFN as a regulator has the mandate to control and regulate freight forwarders of Nigeria. It is compulsory for any person or corporate to be brought under regulation and control of CRFFN administration except you are not a freight forwarding practioner. Any person or corporate who is not under regulation and control of CRFFN is not a freight forwarder known to law in Nigeria. Mr. Chairman sir, the registered Associations of the Council are the critical machineries and platforms for easy administration of practioners. Therefore, every member of the CRFFN must start its journey of registration and membership through the registered Associations of the Council. And for the purposes of election into the Council it shall be the duty of the Associations to nominate those that shall represent them in the Council Board.
To us in NAGAFF this could be mere waste of time, resources of the government, risking the lives of the freight forwarders in the name of election etc. Mr. Chairman sir, CRFFN IS EQUIVALENT OR SIMILAR TO The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ON MATTERS OF REGULATION AND CONTROL. INEC REGISTERS POLITICAL PARTIES FOR THE PURPOSES OF EASY ADMINISTRATION ON ELECTION MATTERS. CRFFN REGISTERS ASSOCIATIONS FOR EASY ADMINISTRATION INCLUDING ELECTIONS. Mr. Chairman perhaps we need to make you understand more, that we are canvassing against breaches of the Act, “Why did you write the Associations to notify them and their members about the election”. It is most unfortunate and regrettable that the transportation ministry may not have been of help to CRFFN administration and management. Well over 13yrs of CRFFN under the Transportation Ministry, CRFFN is yet to take off effectively to the glory of God and our business. We had high hopes when Rt Hon Chibuike Amechi took over the leadership of Transportation Ministry based on his pedigree but here we are it seems politics of APC and PDP may be taking its toll on the CRFFN.
Mr. Chairman, we wish to bring to your notice that the registered Associations have agreed among themselves to elect the 15 members and forward their names to the Council board. That was the process in the last election and it was peaceful. Stop listening to people who claim not to belong to any of the registered Associations of CRFFN. You should be bold to ask why? It is even an insult on CRFFN who registered the Associations. Mr. Chairman sir, we repeat from the high command of NAGAFF the facilitator of CRFFN establishment as an Act of the National Assembly that CRFFN is a law. CRFFN should not be begging anybody or group of persons or Associations for anything other than to implement the law. It is compulsory for every individual practitioner/corporate/associations to be brought under regulation and control of CRFFN administration as long as one is involved in freight business. Any of these three categories who for whatever reason removes his or her name from the register of freight forwarders under the control and regulation of CRFFN shall cease to be referred to as a freight forwarder. We advise you to consult with the Minister and review your approach and take advantage of the registered Associations for the purposes of election into the Council Board 2021.”

” In conclusion, we make bold to say anything to the contrary might give the impression that the Ministry is only interested in monetary gains. However, the need to control and regulate processes and procedures of the election is strategic and peaceful. More importantly, you may wish to void any new registration for the purposes of election starting from the date you issued notice of Council election to the public. This is to avoid non practioners involvement in the election.”