There is palpable fear in the Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) following the expiration of the alleged tenure of members of the governing council last month.
The Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi had sworn in the governing council members in October 2018, for a period of two years, as prescribed in the CRFFN Act.
Shipping Position Daily gathered that some of the council members who have been pushing for tenure elongation are bent on serving for four years.
Even though it is against the CRFFN Act, the embattled council members insist that it is only the Minister of Transportation that can ask them to vacate office.
In a chat with Shipping Position Daily, a member of the Governing Council, Mr Kayode Farinto, told our correspondent that only the Minister can ask the elected council members to leave office, while insisting that the CRFFN Act stipulates four years for elected members and two years for appointed members.
He wondered why anyone will ask them to step down, when they are yet to finish their tenure, even as he argued that only government appointees in the council are meant to serve a two-year tenure.
According to him, “when we were contesting for election we were made to understand that it’s going to be a four-year tenure and the only person that can give us a counter-directive now is the minister, so until the minister makes pronouncement, nobody can ask us to step down, and I am sure he is consulting his legal department, so until he makes his pronouncement, nobody can say anything.
“If the minister directs tomorrow that our tenure has ended, so be it; the Act talks about four years and a particular section of the Act talks about two years for the appointees, the one affecting the appointees is very clear; its two years, it is only for those elected members that there is ambiguity, but I know it is not a problem. I believe the minister will give us a sense of direction in the next one or two weeks”, he said.
Also speaking, another governing council member; Prince Adeyinka Bakare insisted that the CRFFN Act stipulates four years for elected members and two years for appointed members.
His words: “There is no ambiguity in the Act, it stipulates a two-year tenure for appointed board members and four years for elected members.
“The Act stipulates a period of two years and after two years another set of people will be appointed, so I think it is so open in the Act, and for the elected members, the act states that those elected will be for four years, so there is nothing like tenure elongation” he argued.
However, reacting to the planned four years tenure for some of the council members, a former member who pleaded anonymity queried why the present council members would insist on getting a four-year tenure, even as he alleged that some of them are bent on doing so, due to pecuniary gains they get as members.
According to him, “why would they insist on four years, aren’t you aware that the board’s tenure has always been two years, so why will anyone state that it is four years, these are some of the issues that bring crisis, but when a man begin to eat honey, it will be difficult for you to feed that man with bitter leaf”.
“I wouldn’t blame them, many of them have tasted power and now they don’t want to leave, do you remember that some of them were given official vehicles and now telling them to leave will mean they have to leave the official vehicles, this is asides the other allowances they get, but Act stipulate just two years for board members”, he said.
Also speaking to our correspondent on the face-off, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Dr. Boniface Aniebonam urged the CRFFN governing council members to approach the court for clarification.
“When you have such controversies, it requires interpretation in court, let them approach the court; any of the council members can approach the court; either the council members or the board”, he said.