By Joshua Yousouph
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has advised all associations registered under the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to kick against individual participation in the coming elections into the Council’s Governing Council.
There are clear indications that the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) had approved individual registered freight forwarders to contest in the CRFFN election as against the initial arrangement whereby the seat will be shared among the five accredited freight forwarding associations.
But, while addressing newsmen at the NAGAFF headquarters in Lagos on Monday, the founder of the association, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam noted that such decision by the FMOT is a clear violation of the CRFFN Act.
Aniebonam raised concerns over the prevailing silence by leadership of the registered freight forwarding associations on the latest development which will allow individuals to participate in the election. He however called on the leadership of the five freight forwarding associations to protest to the National Assembly against the newly-approved individual participation in the CRFFN elections.
“The Transport Ministry tends to be more interested in individual contestants other than the registered associations. Right now, we can see that the election has been rigged before the time. We can see that we have only one candidate at some airports and land borders. That means there is no contest showing that the election has been rigged already. We can all remember that the maiden CRFFN election was also rigged where some boys were hired to cast votes. Since then CRFFN has not seen the light of the day. The Ministry of Transportation, instead of mediating in the issue properly, it took solace in facilitating and ensuring that the Council is made a parastatal of government.
“Concerning the forthcoming CRFFN election, I call on all the registered associations not to participate in the elections. People must learn how to make sacrifices in other to protect the originality of an Act. I don’t expect NAGAFF, AREFFN, ANLCA and others who are fully registered by CRFFN to be involved in this election because we have agreed on what we want; that is the essence of regulation. If the Council is not willing to compromise, then you should leave it for them. You don’t need to fight. Let them go ahead with the Council. Then we will come back to Customs and Excise Management Act as it were, the licensing regulation of the Customs which prohibits anyone to do business. Maybe until this particular leadership of Rotimi Amaechi is off, then we can come back to revisit the issue.
“I expect these registered associations to protest to the National Assembly and draw their attention to the breaches against the CRFFN Act. Why will the associations keep quiet? I am not asking you not to keep quiet. If you want to keep quiet, then stay away from the Council. We cannot be part of this illegalities. What are we going to teach young freight forwarders? There’s need for us to protect the Act” Aniebonam said.
Read Also: CRFFN Governing Council Elections To Hold 9th Of March 2022 – Official
On his part, the National President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Oluremi Ogungbemi, who was also at the event used the opportunity to decry Customs plans to revoke its earlier decision of excluding trucks from being impounded alongside seized consignments.
According to him, the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) states that liable goods should be impounded together with its means of conveyance. However, the National Assembly had earlier intervened and a consensus was reached that trucks should be excluded.
Ogungbemi called on the management of the Nigeria Customs to revalidate that law and not make them scapegoats for a crime they know nothing about.
“As a partner in progress, we are looking forward to collectively see how we can engage the management of the Nigeria Customs to make them see reasons why they can revalidate that law. We are not privy to the documents used to clear the cargo and we are not part of examination until when the goods are released. It is when the goods are said to have been examined and all the necessary payments said to have been made, it is then they beckon on trucks to come and carry them. So how come we are made to suffer for what we know nothing about? We have many of our trucks currently in Customs custody for over a year without our fault”, Ogungbemi concluded.
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