NAGAFF Founder talks tough, says ANLCA is sabotaging CRFFN
.Says associations have power to recall inactive representatives
.Princess Ezeh calls for more women participation
By Udeme Clement
The Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam has said that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, over 10 years after enactment by Nigerian parliament as CRFFN ACT 16 of 2007, appears inactive because of abuse of power and people who are not knowledgeable about CRFFN trying to ruin it.
He said emphatically that the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, is sabotaging efforts by NAGFF and other well meaning Freight Forwarders to move the Council forward.
Dr Aniebonam, who played a major role in the establishment of CRFFN, made this known in a chat with Maritime Journalists, yesterday, in Lagos.
According to him, “CRFFN is private driven with the presence of the Federal Government now. So, it has partial autonomy. That damage has been done. We will continue to talk about it and the people who were involved in it.”
Dr. Aniebonam, who is a respected personality in the maritime industry pointed out, “Look at our sister associations for instance, you will see people who have been in the association for decades still struggling even where there is nothing they can offer, instead of allowing younger Freight Forwarders to do the job. These old men should allow the young ones to do things better.
“Time is running out on us. They should take example from me. I founded NAGAFF in 1999 and I’m quitting for young ones to take over affairs of the association.”
He informed, “You Maritime Journalists saw what happened during the election. You were aware of the manipulation during. The people who would have put hands to build the Council were disenfranchised. You saw how agencies that were licensed by Customs and even those that were moribund registered for the election.
“You can go and ask Chief Peter Obi and others who were involved. The manipulation was so glaring, as some people even registered just a day to the election. We were not bothered. At the end, out of over 1,300 people who were registered, as members of CRFFN to vote and be voted for, NAGAFF had 1000”.
He explained, “At present, NAGAFF has six seats in the Council, ANLCA also has six members. But ANLCA is still working against the Council. For instance, even the Operating Fee, POF, government said we should collect, sharing formula is the problem.”
Giving more instances on how ANLCA worked against CRFFN, Dr. Aniebonam, revealed, “When we filed the first document at the National Assembly, seeking for enactment of the Act establishing CRFFN, ANLCA and their group went to National Assembly and said categorically that they were not party to CRFFN Act. A former President of ANLCA said openly that he was going to kill the bill, but that did not work. Those fighting CRFFN are building a castle in the air”
His words, “Today, the good news is that, the current leadership of the Council is determined to change things for good. The current Chairman is doing his best and the Council is active internally.
“Now, the Chairman is up and doing and we have good hands in the Council. Let all members of CRFFN representing various associations work hard to reposition the Council for greater performance.
“We should follow the laws and do the right thing, to move the maritime industry forward. Members representing various groups must realise that the associations they belong, have the right to write and recall members seen to be inactive. We must be ready to do the right thing. It is not over, until it’s over”.
He frowned, “Today, many Freight Forwarders live by giving bribe to do their work in the ports because the laws are not enforced. This has to stop! The way out at this point is to ensure compliance with the fiscal policies of government on trade regulations, thereby submitting to 100 percent examination at Ports, rather than giving bribe and losing consignments worth millions of naira through seizures.
Dr. Aniebonam also expressed displeasure about activities of some Customs officers who often connive with agents to circumvent the laws in ports, during cargo clearance.
Also speaking, the Chairperson of Registration Committee, CRFFN, Hourable Princess Chi Ezeh, called for more women participation in moving the Council to greater height of recognition.
She advised more women to be actively involved in Freight Forwarding business in the maritime industry and be ready to make tangible contributions to grow the sector.
Princess who commended the current Chairman of CRFFN for his exemplary leadership, said women have a role to play in making the industry more productive.
She said, “Freight forwarding business is not for men only but for everyone. Let more women come and invest in this sector of the economy, in order to create more jobs”.
Princess who looks so determined to do her best in the Council, said the current leadership of CRFFN is on the right path.