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  • ***Described him as most incompetent to handle freight forwarding issues.

By Ruth Sunday

Freight Forwarders in the maritime Industry have passed a vote of no confidence on the Registrar , Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mr. Samuel Nwakohu following his inability to resolve the issues between them and the Shipping Companies.

It would be recalled that  Freight  forwarders had issued a  notice for the withdrawal of their services in the port in protest of the injustices of the shipping companies against them and their clients which they(freight forwarders) said has hampered their businesses, with the attendant effect on the public (end users).

CRFFN Registrar, Mr. Samuel Nwakohu(middle) flanked by Alhaji Tanko left & Evang. Iwegbuna shortly after the first peace meeting.

The CRFFN Registrar, Mr Samuel Nwakohu who  tried to intervene with a firm promise of resolving the issues, while appealing freight forwarders to sheet their swords, could not achieve success.

‌The CRFFN Registrar had summoned peace meetings, Four consecutively times with NPA, Nigeria Shippers’ Council , freight Forwarders, Shipping Companies representatives in attendance,  yet without reaching consensus on the complaints of the freight forwarders and their demands.

Speaking to our correspondent on this development, the National Chairman of 100% Compliance Committee of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko described the inability   of the Registrar of CRFFN, Mr Samuel Nwakohu to settle the problems they had with  shipping companies as most unfortunate and very disappointing.

Alhaji Tanko averred that the Registrar is  most incompetent and most incapable  to address  issues confronting them adding that until now, Mr. Nwokohu  has failed to communicate with them as promised  during their last meeting nor fixed another meeting to find ;lasting solution to their problems.

“The last meeting we had with  three regulatory agencies; NPA, NSC, CRFFN, we were not able to reach concensus and he promised to reschedule another meeting which will involve only few people. Up till now, we are still waiting to hear from him

“Rumour has it that he has called for a  meeting with the shipping companies without us. Though I did not believe it but if it is true, I can only say that the Registrar has hijacked the process. This also means that he is using his position to intimidate us, telling us we are nobody, that we cannot do anything hence they are our regulator.

“If it is true, we are going to tell him that we are the owners of this Industry.  I could recall that,  that was why he made that statement during the last meeting that ‘We don’t even have right over shipping companies, that he is the only one who has right to engage shipping companies. I did not agree with him.

The 100% Compliance Committee Boss said, “Were cannot continue this way. Nobody has a monopoly of knowledge. If that is the way he wants to treat us, we cannot tolerate it again. I have kept quiet to watch where he is going. I know how many calls I have received since that day. He wants to make nonsense of us, but we will not take it.

“I own my company. I pay my workers, nobody does that for me. Then, someone will sit down somewhere and make nonsense of us. It cannot be possible. I can decide not to be a member if I did not see any benefit from my membership. I can decide to be  on my own and take my cross.  Before, was there anything like CRFFN?

“We decided to come together under one platform to speak with one voice. We didn’t bargain for this. We didn’t plan for this. As I am talking with you, a lot of people have decided not to be a member. We spend money in registration per head, per company, per association and then, what is our benefit?. He will hear from us soon.

Alhaji flayed the idea  of  taking bribe from the shipping companies as believed by some people, adding, “truthfully, nobody has approached me with any money on this matter and I  must see the end of this matter with or without CRFFN. I will get it right.

“We are only trying to use dialogue. Everybody is seeing it. AIG, DIG, the 4 Commissioners of Police; the Lagos Commissioner of Police; Port Police Commissioner; , Commissioner of Police, Marina. They are all aware of this  issue we are going through.

” I heard NPA said they gave shipping companies License for holding bay, the shipping companies denied ownership of the holding bay. I don’t know who  they are playing with. The year is coming to an end. We will start planning on the next line of action this week.  Everything about this will end this year. We won’t enter January with this problem.  This year will go with all this matter. Man dies but once.”

On the  allegation that the Shipping Companies had settled CRFFN, he said, “if money has not exchanged hands, how would someone call you a regulator? You started  a case and half way you abandon it without communicating with you, not telling you anything about it? Who is a fool here? Something is wrong . I am not happy.”

Mr Francis Omotosho

Speaking also, a Stakeholder and an academia, Mr. Francis Omotosho posited that the Registrar is not a freight forwarder, therefore lack the requisite understanding and knowledge of the impact of what the Shipping Companies are doing to freight forwarders.

  • According to Mr Omotosho, “for such a person who does not have knowledge of freight forwarding business, how then will he know where to tilt to? And the game now, to him is, I don’t want to offend anybody. And if you don’t want to offend anybody, it means, you don’t know what is in ground.

“If you know what is in ground, you will understand who is offended and who cause the offense. Immediately, you issue a directive, those who cause the offense should amend their ways and then plead with those offended to be patient with those who committed the offence to adjust themselves.”

He maintained that the CRFFN cannot mediate over the problem, arguing that looking up to him for a solution is a waste of time and called on freight forwarders to take their destiny by their hands, fight the war once and for all to avoid future ocurance.

 Furthermore, he stated that Shippers’Council on their part, to a certain level is incapacitated following various court cases in court with some shipping associations and terminal operators, while urging freight forwarders to lay their full support to the agency.

“You see there is a cartel among the Shipping Companies and terminal operators and freight forwarders are not ready to form their own cartel to face them squarely both physically, spiritually and the Court because they are martians.

“Everybody is glamouring for its own share even the government is glamouring to have their own share and that’s why the import duty is there. And when you declare wrongly, they hold you to ransome  to pay all because they need to get their fair share.

“Shipping lines, they have their own share. Terminal operators have statutory fees they charge. Anything out of that box, we have to come to the round table to either dialogue or resolve amicably or we go for war and everybody will now come to their senses and sort it out within themselves,” he added.

Photo:.   Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, National Chairman NAGAFF 100% Compliance Committee.

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