By Kenneth Jukpor
African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON) has lamented a gang-up by freight forwarding associations against the Transport Ministry’s directive to open up the Governing Board elections of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to individuals.
Following a meeting of all registered associations under the CRFFN yesterday the groups agreed to have a sharing formula that would see the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) get 6 slots, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) obtain 6 slots, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) picks 1, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN) gets 1 and the National Association of Freight Forwarders and Airfreight Consolidators (NAFFAC) gets 1.
At the meeting for all freight forwarders and customs brokers under the aegis of All Freight Forwarders Forum (AFF), practitioners unanimously agreed to the arrangement even as they resolved to ensure only those candidates that emerge from associations are eligible to be voted for in the upcoming polls.
Speaking with MMS Plus on this development, the President of APFFLON, Mr. Frank Ogunojemite described the development as a “gang-up against the Transport Minister’s directive on the CRFFN elections.”
His words: “Are they saying people registered as individual members of CRFFN or on the basis of companies shouldn’t vote or be voted for? The outcome of that meeting yesterday is obviously a gang-up against the initial Ministerial directive to have the positions open to everyone registered with CRFFN either as an individual, a company or an association.”
He argued that if the position of the five CRFFN accredited associations is allowed to hold, it could be the beginning of anarchy in freight forwarding practice in the country.
“The Transport Minister, Department of State Security (DSS), Assistant Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Maritime and all maritime stakeholders should be informed of this strategic ploy to hijack CRFFN. These associations have formed a cartel and their agenda isn’t in the interest of the sector as they claim. This would definitely usher in an era of lawlessness in the sector,” he posited.
He argued that the freight forwarders who attended the All Freight Forwarders Forum in Apapa, Lagos yesterday, didn’t represent the entirety of freight forwarding practioners in the country, adding that several key members and executives of the five associations also stayed away from the meeting.
Also speaking with MMS Plus, a former President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu expressed dissatisfaction at the move by freight forwarding associations, describing the sharing formula as undemocratic.
His words: “The concerns of the leaders of associations is primarily what they can get from CRFFN. Their motivation is the money they can get from the Council. Why else will people invest so much to get there? The Act says the election must be among registered freight forwarders and there are three kinds of membership of CRFFN.”
“We have individual category, companies and associations. If all categories must be represented on the Council and associations decide to share 6-6-1-1-1; what about the corporate companies and individuals? This decision is purely undemocratic; even if 1,000 people decide to contest for the 15 slots, let it be seen that the opportunity was there and the process was transparent. There was a time we suggested that if the Transport Ministry couldn’t organize this election, we could call the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to supervise it. There are several issues affecting freight forwarding practice in Nigeria, throughout the tenure if the last Governing Board when did they converge to solve industry problems? Let’s see how the Minister will react to this sharing formula.”