By Frank Odinukaeze
The chairman, Governing Council, Council For the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Dr. Abubakar Tsanni has revealed in an exclusive interview with MMS Plus,why the Council has remained silent in the rift between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Association of Maritime Truck Operators (AMATO),over the seizure of about 100 trucks belonging to AMATO.
Tsanni who spoke through his representative, Hon Ndubuisi Ozoegbu, at the one day freight forwarders’ summit organized by the Concerned Nigeria Registered Freight Forwarders in partnership with the Freight Forwarders Consultative Forum (FFCC) stated that CRFFN as a Council, does not intervene in what it considers an internal issue until such issue is brought to its notice by a registered member.
“CRFFN does not intervene when its members have issues with either the government or any other group,” he said.
On AMATO that is having issues with the NCS, Tsanni said, “They are not relating to the Council, and there is no way Council will know what is happening out there. It is like when there is a problem in the family, and the family decides to treat it internally, and not bringing it out to the kinsmen or kindred. What we stand for in the industry is: If you have a peculiar issue and you want to handle it your own way without bringing it to CRFFN, you have the right to do so. Until when the matter gets to CRFFN, that’s when we can take action”
On the peace Committee set up by the Council to resolve the current crisis rocking Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA),Tsanni affirmed the committee would do a thorough job and the report would soon be made public.
The chairman, Governing Council of CRFFN, stated that the Council is on top of its game and has firm control over all the registered members.”We have firm control over all the registered members, because we are aggregators. Everything that has to do with Freight Forwarders is embedded in CRFFN,” he said.
Meanwhile, stakeholders have called for the amendment of the Act establishing CRFFN to reflect the required focus and independence.
This is one of the issues contained in the Communique issued at the end of the summit.
However in his address at the summit, Tsanni assured that CRFFN would ensure that Freight Forwarders will no longer be relegated to the background and be treated like touts anymore.
He said in order to achieve this, all hands must be on deck. .
“It’s not only CRFFN that would bring this desired change, the people in the field and everyone concerned in the freight family must ensure that things don’t remain the way they are now. Most importantly, we must change our behavioral attitudes and conducts,” he said.
He added that the freight forwarding sector is a major contributor to the revenue generation in the country after the oil sector.
“As far as I am concerned, after the oil sector , the next sector that are heavy revenue generator in Nigeria is the freight forwarding sector. Nigeria is being sustained today because of freight forwarders,” he said.
In his welcome address, the chairman of the day Chief Ernest Elochukwu, noted that the purpose of the summit was to scrutinize topical issues militating against the practice and development of freight forwarding in Nigeria.
“A key area of interest for this summit may be finding the role and traction of the registered freight forwarders on the quest to solve the myriads of problems being encountered in his practice ,hence no punch shall be spared in analyzing critical issues of qualifications, standards, conducts and sanctions, etc,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the convener,Dr.Basil Chudi Nwolisa,noted that corruption had been the bane of development not only in the maritime sector, but also in the country as well.
His words, “Due to exposure to corruption, about 2000 Nigerians with a couple of international collaborators have stolen more than $800trn till date. These are monies meant for development. Looking back and putting a flashlight through the freight forwarding business in comparison with what is obtainable world over, you will see a sector struggling in the murky waters of corruption, greed and selfish interest of their leaders”
Speaking also at the event the president of African Practitioners of Freight Forwarding and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON),Chief Frank Ogunojemite, who was represented by Rev.Victor Akorede Shotayo ,called on the practitioners to start doing things the right way and stop politicizing issues.
He noted that the CRFFN is an umbrella body for three categories of members and every decision taken must be unanimously agreed upon by all registered members of the council including the terminal operators and port users for effective compliance.
“If truly the CRFFN is established to regulate our professional activities, there must not be any form of intimidation or marginalization, the Council must unite its members to achieve a good operational environment. In a democratic setting, governance must be all inclusive,” he said.
The chairman standing committee, CNRFFN, Prince George Ndubuisi implored the summit to come up with ideas and suggestions that would deal with challenges that are bedeviling the freight forwarding sector.
A member of CNRFFN, Elder Micheal Odoemna submitted that time has come for the CRFFN to base all its actions and activities in accordance with the law that established it.
Former president of National Association of Government Approved Freighted Forwarders ( NAGAFF),and vice chairman, FFCC and member CNRFF,Chief Increase Uche, and Elochukwu, chairman of the occasion presented papers at the occasion.