… Vows to upturn CRFFN status as government agency
The founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has taken a swoop on the Chairman, Governing Council of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni for failing to attend the grand finale of the NAGAFF at 20 ceremonies in person.
Aniebonam who made his feeling known while delivering his goodwill message at the event which held at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos yesterday was not happy that Tsanni could personally attend the event instead he sent a representation which according to him did not show that the CRFFN Chairman had enough regard for the association which midwifed the Council he was sitting in.
In his words, “If you look at the setting here, if you look at here now (displaying Tsanni’s picture on the event brochure), look at the picture of the Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding, is he here? NAGAFF is too big for him to send a representation. What did I say? NAGAFF is too big for him to send a representation. Go and tell him. We can understand the Minister of Transport. When they brought that information to me, I said, remove that name there. The person he sent here is my personal friend, I grew up with him, he has the capacity to be at the high table, he is even a member of the Council.”
Recounting how NAGAFF facilitated the establishment of CRFFN, he said, “Much of what I did was to move in and get the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria aside from all odds and I know what CRFFN is. CRFFN is an agency as it were now, an agency of the government which is abnormal, in contravention of the Act, human element factor and somebody was talking about the challenge. CRFFN had to come to be when NAGAFF was founded in 1999 together with Prof. Oni who is seated here, with the late Usman Sanusi. We brought in Isah Baruchi who was the Vice President of FIATA, the global body that oversees the freight forwarding practice.
“He came into Nigeria; I hosted this man at Eko Le’Meridian, after which he went to Abuja to meet with Ojo Maduekwe, then Minister of Transport. After holding a meeting with Ojo Maduekwe, we agreed that we need to set up a system that will bring every voice together; NAGAFF, ANLCA or any other association. We should speak with one voice and therefore, there should be a regulation and that was how the bill was introduced at the National Assembly that metamorphosed into Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria and NAGAFF was in forefront.
“I still have it on record wherein a serving President of an organization, a sister organization, came to the National Assembly, a senator of the Federal Republic and had the impetus to come and tell the audience that he was there to kill the bill but God raised Senator Ohuabunwa who told him that the National Assembly does not kill bills, ‘we are here to make laws for the good governance of our country and if you want any other thing to the contrary, come up with your own bill.’
“And at the end of the day, the Council became a force; the same group of people still went into the Council through the back door and sat on the Council till today, that this Council is not going to go anywhere. They are not God, they are making the greatest mistake of their lives, they are joking. NAGAFF knows what CRFFN is, it is already an Act of the National Assembly, it is just time. That is why I charge all of you, 20 years, I have done my bit, great minds, Eugene Nweke and a host of them, I have trained them. They can stand on their own and they will defend our course of professional revolution and that is for the good of our country not for the individuals.”
He however regretted that the Council which was established as a private member Council with government representation had been carelessly converted into an agency of government jostling for allocation from the federation account with other statutory agencies of the government.
“But meanwhile, the matter in question (CRFFN status) is at the Appeal Court and I will ensure that I will take this up to the Supreme Court that CRFFN is not an agency of the government. We have to do it, whatever it will cost. CRFFN is not an agency of the government for God’s sake. We all know that government has hand in everything we do but there could still be some semblance of partial autonomy and that is why you have what is called pseudo government or quasi government. Our Council Act is about quasi government and when we say quasi government we mean that government representation is found in the Council in terms of the composition of the Council members; Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council, NIMASA and the rest of them, they are there in the Council representing their various organizations and the Chairman of the Council is an elected member from the register of freight forwarders, that is a practitioner must be the Chairman of the Council, even Vice Chairman down the line.
“Today, we have done a kangaroo whatever they did and they brought people again, the same people but the good news is that six members of NAGAFF are there and those who think they will continue, they will not because the NAGAFF people I have sent are more daring than myself because I am even the one holding them. What I tell all of you is to remain on the part of the law, if you remain with the law, you are fearless”, he said.
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