Founder NAGAFF
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…hinges CRFFN inefficiency on misinterpretation of its governing Act

.. seeks intervention of National Assembly

…calls on Transport Minister to make a pronouncement on Council members status


Pearl Ngwama


The Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has hinged the inefficiency of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) on the wrong interpretation and implementation of the Act that set it up.


He maintained that the Council was not created to be an agency of government but a regulatory body to freight forwarders.


This is just as he called on the National Assembly to wade into the anomalies in CRFFN to restore it to what it was actually set up to achieve in the freight forwarding business, in line with the Act that established it.


Aniebonam who made this call at the recent anniversary of NAGAFF at its Headquarters in Apapa, Lagos, stressed the need to move CRFFN from the Federal Ministry of Transportation to Trade & Investment because the latter understands the operations of trade more.


“I would want all of us to join me and make a case for public policy advocacy and engagement. I think we need to be members. CRFFN just have to leave Transport Ministry for Trade & Investment because Trade & Investment understandS more what trade is all about.


“We are involved in Cargo administration. So, I think, we need to work with those who understand the administration. If we continue to be in the Ministry of Transport, the effort of the National Assembly will be defeated,” he pointed out.


He explained that placing CRFFN under the Federal Ministry of Transportation was a mistake that has kept the Council still wobbling since its inception in 2007, unable to achieve its mandate.


His words: “I think we have been having a lot of distraction from the Transport Ministry. If it is a mistake, honestly that mistake has been made because I was part of the members that made the draft bill for this Council.


“We had the opportunity to choose the Ministries that we could be attached to, that could be a supervisory Ministry. I think going into Transport Ministry has become a curse for us.


“That is the truth of the matter because I don’t understand; from 2007 till now, how many years? 13 and CRFFN has not been able to find its feet under the Transport Ministry, from one Minister to another.


“At the end of the day, we ended up seeing the CRFFN as a pseudo Council becoming an agency of the government and we are still battling in the Appeal Court to establish the fact that CRFFN is not an agency of the government.


“We saw it clearly, the level of fraud in this Country. The Government is angry, the Government is complaining they don’t have money to do some other things and people are struggling to go to federal government board to pick money.


“Now what do I mean by this? When you look at the Council’s Act, Section 6 of that Act clearly states how the Council will serve.


“The National Executive Council had given graciously again an approval in that direction and till today, the Council members spend more time dragging the Council into the federation and they had been picking money.


“Just one day, somebody will take responsibility and look at that Council from 2007 till now, all the funds that passed through that Council, because going into National Assembly to take that money is a breach.”


The Founder of NAGAFF therefore called on the National Assembly (NASS) to review the Act that set up the CRFFN to correct these anomalies and place it on the pedestal to achieve its mandate.


According to him, the Council was set up by the Act of Parliament to regulate operations and activities of freight forwarding contrary to what is happening today.


“It was through NAGAFF, with the support of some critical stakeholders, that the CRFFN was berthed. It was designed in the mold of Institue of Charterd Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), a private sector initiative. Surprisingly, some people have cornered it as a government parastatal in contravention to the Act that established it, in order to collect money from the federal government.


“We need to do things on our own. Why are struggling to take CRFFN to the body of Federal Ministry of Transportation, why? Does it mean we cannot regulate ourselves?


“Which agency of the federal government has its CEO elected or the management elected? That is why NAGAFF went to court to challenge the aberration, which is now in the Appeal Court.


“It is because of this wrong interpretation and implementation of the Act that the Council has remained comatose since its inception thereby derailing from the purpose for which it was set up.’’


However, he said that everyone involved in the misappropriation of the Council’s funds would one day face the consequences of his deeds, pointing out that crime had an expiry date.


Speaking further, the NAGAFFF Founder also called on the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amechi, to take a second look on the CRFFN, saying that it is expected that by now a Council whose tenure had expired should have a statement so that ‘’we have a direction.”


“Up till now members of the Council cannot tell you whether they are still members of the Council or not, and we should understand that even in Court, when a court makes an interim Order, the interim Order is expected to discharge itself thereafter 14 days but you must approach the Court to discharge the Order.


“So, the Council members from the date they were inaugurated to now, it should not be assumed that there will no more be Council? No!


“A pronouncement must be made and that will take us to section 5 of the Council Act wherein the Minister has the mandate to give direction and character to the administration of the Council,” he explained.

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