By Kenneth Jukpor
The Chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko has dismissed speculations of disunity in the NAGAFF hierarchy.
Tanko made this clarification in a press statement yesterday after some online news sources had quoted the President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche to have said NAGAFF stopped the planned protest of a group of freight forwarders and truckers known as COFFAMAT.
COFFAMAT had threatened to withdraw their services from the ports if the Presidential task team continued, accusing the task team of complicity in the port access menace.
Tanko, yesterday maintained that the NAGAFF President couldn’t have said, “the 48hours ultimatum issued by the COFFAMAT was a misplaced priority and an afterthought of some of the rabble rousers in the industry” as posited in an online news report.
Tanko said, “After issuing the 48hours ultimatum we got intelligence report that there would a gang up to use the withdrawal of service to cause commotion at the ports. If you observed what happened with the #EndSARS protests, then you would understand their plans. This was what informed our decision not to go ahead with the withdrawal of service. Instead, we wrote letters to the Presidency, Ministry of Transportation, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State Governor, among others.”
“These letters have been dispatched and we have gotten response from NPA for a meeting and the Governor of Lagos State. The office of the Vice President has also reacted by asking us for a meeting next week. So, it is erroneous to say NAGAFF stopped the strike action by a group of freight forwarding associations and trucking associations.”
Opining that Chief Increase Uche may have been quoted out of context, Tanko said; “I don’t agree that my (NAGAFF) President could have said those words attributed to him. This is because there is no fracas between us in NAGAFF, we are one family and I personally inform him of our activities. I signed the letters and made calls to him. In fact, he was part of the team that visited the Lagos State Governor. So, I don’t believe that the NAGAFF President could resort to calling us names”
Meanwhile, Tanko expressed shock that some freight forwarders are exonerating the Presidential Taskforce from the unending gridlock on the Lagos port access roads.
According to him, the Taskforce has outlived its relevance even as it had also lasted for more than two months after its scheduled tenure.
He challenged the Chairman of the Taskforce, Mr. Kayode Opeifa to provide proof that his team was authorized to operate to date, arguing that even if such opportunity was created aggrieved freight forwarders and truckers would kick against such development.
Tanko, however, urged the freight forwarders in the country to practice 100 percent compliance to stipulated trade procedures and prioritize honesty in their practice.