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Five registered, accredited Freight Forwarding Associations and Independent Registered Freight Forwarders have been given two weeks to resolve their issues and come up with the sharing formula for the 15 seats allocated to them in the Governing Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria(CRFFN).

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation Dr. Magdalene Ajani  who stated this in Lagos during a consultative forum with the freight forwarders in view of the dissenting voices  against the sharing formula of 6-6-1-1-1 adopted by the Four Registered Freight Forwarding Associations.
Dr Ajani made it clear that the Ministry is going to stick on the provisions of the CRFFN Act in the decentralization of the election, participation of those registered freight forwarders who do not belong to any of the established registered associations.
”We have listened to the last speaker and heard him say elections should be decentralised. elections should actually happen simultaneously in the three Zones and the Act provides that the fifteen freight forwarders that should be in the Council have to be equally represented by their zones.  So, five from each of the three  zones and we are going to stick to the Act.
”We have also listened to freight forwarders who do not belong to the associations, making a case that they should be allowed to contest the election. The4 Act does not stop them from contesting the election,” she concluded.
Some distinuished Freight Forwarders at the occasion
On the alleged hiring of non freight forwarders to vote during the forthcoming CRFFN elections, the Perm Sec said, ”The Ministry has presented the guidelines for eligibility to vote and be voted and if we are in a system of democracy, we will need to respect that.. I can see that in the screening voter’s form, there is a provision for the name of the voter, the registration number with the CRFFN, the evidence of your payment of your annual subscriptions for at least two years because that will make you really a practicing freight forwarder, address of your freight forwarding business and the zone you belong to whether it is Eastern, Western, Airport or whatsoever.”.

In his welcome address, the Registrar of CRFFN, Barrister Samuel Nwakohu who remarked that the meeting was specifically for registered freight forwarders was scheduled  to enable them discuss issues of concern with a view to find solutions.

R>L President of ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike(standing) Dr. Rafiu Oladipo , Chairman Board of Trustees, NCMDLCA, Dr Boniface O. Aniebonam, Founder of NAGAFF

Presenting their positions earlier through the President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA}, Tony Iju Nwabunike , the Five Registered  Associations with Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), said in as much they they welcomed the plan for an election,  they want to make input in the decision being taken the Council.

“We want to  say that we have agreed to walk as one indivisible freight forwarder and Customs broker in CRFFN. We sat together to say that the election of freight forwarders into CRFFN, that we actually agreed that there will be election and that associations must have an input on whatever decision in our Council giving  that we are just  unaloof of this truths concerning our Council ,
“Then we came together to say that we want to do election, the association has to be involved . There are two areas 9f representations in our CRFFN.(1) individual and (2) corporate body and most importantly, the association. And CRFFN in its own way gave accreditation to 5 associations. Last time we held an election on areas of cementing our relationship by having each association having a number of people that were  representated and these people will now go for the election.  And this is why we are having the mandate here,” they opined.

.On their part, the Association of registered freight forwarders in Nigeria(AREFFN) through its President Bala Daura  said the sharing formular is unacceptable the them, arguing that even though they accepted it during last CRFFN elections due to the prevailing circumstances, but that such cannot continue hence the association has grown larger, spread to other zones and as such did not sign the five associations position document presented to the Permanent Secretary..

Frank Ogunojemite, President, APFFLON
Commenting also, the President, Africa Association of Professional Freight forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Frank Ogunojemite who disagreed with the sharing formula posited that independent freight forwarders who are registered should  be allowed to contest.
.Speaking with Journalists shortly after the meeting, the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, expressed his disappointment with the stand of the Permanent Secretary and wondered why she should introduce emotions in addressing the issue at stake against the provisions in  the CRFFN act..
“Right now, I’m angry with the way the Perm. Sec.  addressed this issue. I can’t blame her because she is a woman. She just spoke as a mother. However, the act is available for anyone to see..
”The five major associations have come together as one indivisible body to walk into the election but some groups with extremely few members are saying the formula should be equal. The act is there. We should act based on the law.
”When you are in front of the law, you don’t involve emotions. You address issues the way it ought to be,” he said..
Reacting also, the  President  Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tony Iju Nwabunike said the formula remains sacossant as agreed by the five registered associations.
“Who will call the meeting? The formula remains. There is nothing we can do as regards that. The leadership of the five major associations which are Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, Nigeria (AREFFN) have met and agreed on that formula and that’s the final,” he opined..
Photo 1: Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation

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