- Loyalists blackmail Minister, Acting Registrar with N90m contract
- Nwakohu claims official cars
In a seeming unprecedented audacious move, the former Registrar/CEO of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN),Sam Nwakohu is reportedly lobbying to return as Registrar in a most desperate manner with a letter addressed to the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, accusing the ministry of his removal from office untimely.
Meanwhile, Nwakohu is also alleged to have exited the Council with five official vehicles which he has refused to return despite repeated official communications to him in that regard. Recall that as the Registrar then he had threatened to deal with the governing council members who left with their official Hilux vehicle, prompting many of them to return vehicles in their possession.
The letter, which triggered momentary cynicism and jeer in the ministry has been directed to the appropriate department by the Minister who expressed surprise when debriefed.
In his letter, he sought to be recalled to ‘complete my term of office”.
Having failed to secure a meeting and the anticipated favorable response from the Minister, he was alleged to have resorted to using some freight associations and the media loyalists to call for his recall.
For example, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria(APFFLON) had in a letter to the Minister said tacitly that if the acting Registrar can’t be confirmed in almost one year in office to do her job well “We are demanding that she should proceed on retirement and another Registrar be appointed. And if there is no capable hand to replace her, Barr.Samuel Nwakohu can be recalled to revive the Council.”
However, some of his media loyalists destroyed his case when they contrived a fraudulently awarded N90million phantom contract in CRFFN under the current Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola and Mrs Chinyere Uromta, the Acting Registrar who took office in that capacity on February 9, 2023 following the exit of Nwakohu who served out his four years tenure of office in an unprecedented controversial manner.
Nwakohu took office in February, 2019 upon appointment by the then Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who defied all criticism against his choice as being the most unqualified amongst the applicants.
CRFFN became crisis-ridden when Nwakohu assumed office in 2019 . The crises were of different phases and dimensions. Recall that five management members of staff of the Council had alleged misappropriation of funds against him; a cross- section of freight forwarders called for his removal over alleged breaches of the CRFFN Act of 2007 in areas of membership registration and Professional Operating Fee(POF).
Subsequently, the existing cold war between the Nwakohu-led management and the governing council culminated to a full-blown crisis of a simmering dimension that the council members were bent on exiting him even before December, 2022.
In addition to the internal brawls were many legal battles in court over CRFFN’s miscarriage of corporate vision.
These factors, according to industry operators, had significantly rendered the Council stagnant and in search of a breathe of fresh air.
Nwakohu succeeded the pioneer Registrar, Sir Mike Jukwe who exited the position in December, 2018.
Nwakohu came on board as CRFFN Registrar and a lawyer with 30 years’ experience but later the governing council contested his claim, even in court.
Recall that Nwakohu had also engaged the governing council members over their objection to the planned acquisition of over N800million head office property at Lekki, Lagos, by the Council’s management led by him, alleging that the governing council’s aversion to the idea was premised on pecuniary interest.
Five different queries over different malfeasance and allegations of insubordination as well as misappropriation of funds and abuse of office from governing council had preceded Nwakohu’s allegation of financial inducement to grant approval for the head office property acquisition.
However, a member of the governing council and their chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni later said that they had been “Exonerated from all the allegation of compromise and connivance in the illegitimate transaction”.
Also, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) which had earlier issued a certificate of “No Objection” on the controversial property acquisition in Lekki, to the CRFFN management suddenly withdrew, claiming it was done in error.
Nwakohu had also closed the door of accreditation to other qualified freight forwarding associations, who sought to be accredited. Many of then had accused him of not picking calls or granting them audience.
The Acting Registrar has confirmed that CRFFN has jettison the idea of acquiring a headquarter building in Lagos as the Council’s Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarders’(NIFF) building in Abuja will double as its administrative office.
She further explained how under her leadership in acting capacity, the Council has improved workers’ welfare like never before and introduced impactful reformative agenda that seek to reposition the entity while building sustainable capacity in the freight forwarding sector and generating revenue for the government.
She therefore called on the government to grant them access to land borders and airports to collect POF to strengthen their self-funding capacity as the council plans to set up call centres across areas of operation to assist POF declarants and stakeholders access their money without hitches.
The Registrar further confirmed that the CRFFN governing council has been dissolved alongside other parastatal boards in line with the presidential directive.
Observers however, feel that this is an aberration the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy should bring to the attention of the presidency because the governing council was constituted via election.