Barely two months of the establishment of Maritime Advocacy and Action Group (MAAG), there are strong indications that the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) may disassociate itself from the group.
MAAG a group comprising freight forwarding associations, maritime haulage associations Lagos state Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and other relevant maritime groups with the aim to address issues surrounding ports operations has Alhaji Alhassan Dantata as the Coordinator.
NAGAFF through its founder Dr. Boniface Aniebonam in a press briefing held recently in Lagos cautioned the group over policy statement directed to the government. Aniebonam faulted the group’s position to government through a virile document on the automotive policy.
The NAGAFF boss reiterated that the federal government transformation agenda is important to the country’s development thus any individual or group should not thwart it. According to him, NAGAFF is concerned about the fact that the group failed to disseminate vital statement to executives of all other associations before making its position known to the government.
Aniebonam who is also the chairman of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) said that coming together by various groups to form MAAG does not impune the authorities or liberties of any organization to make final decision on issues. According to him, for MAAG to succeed in the industry it must not abuse the purpose its establishment. “It has come to my knowledge that certain document is with the national assembly, protesting against the policy direction of the automobile industry and I was not very comfortable with that”. “Because the document they are talking about is not known to us and where they president of NAGAFF brought it to our notice or not, I do know that the management team of NAGAFF is not aware of it”.
“Other associations have also confirmed to me that they are not aware to the document of such, and in other words if MAAG want to succeed, it should not come by way of abuse and if it abuse, anything to the contrary, then NAGAFF will pull out from that organization”, Aniebonam reiterated.
The founder maintained that there is the need for policy’s positions made by executives of MAAG to bind that of all the various associations that make up the group for further endorsement. He noted that the document is confrontational to the government and NAGAFF will not participate in a matter that will thwart government reformation agenda. “If there is a policy direction before now, such policy direction must be talked about in various associations for the representatives to go back with the position of the association”.
Speaking further he said, while the MAAG might have good intention, I will want to believe they don’t abuse the procedures because if any order thing happen in this regard, NAGAFF will pull out and that is the message”. The National Chairman of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) added that, “if the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) is proactive I don’t think there is the need for MAAG”.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC), Chief Chukwu Osita has advised maritime stakeholders making scathing utterances against the newly formed Maritime Advocacy and Action Group (MAAG) to desist from such as the body has come stay for the good of the sector.
Addressing the reporters at the secretariat of the Maritime Reporters’ Congress of Nigeria (MARCON), Thursday, Chief Chukwu said MAAG being an assemblage of over 12 maritime associations and unions is stronger than any association or union.
He added that anyone or group fighting to destabilize MAAG is merely engaging in fruitless venture as the body aims to rescue the maritime sector from the stranglehold of corruption, which has brought it down to its knees.
Chukwu said the comments credited to the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam that his association has threatened to pull out of MAAG was unfortunate, assuring that NAGAFF’s exit does not in any way affect the existence of the group.
“I’m here to let the press know that time has come for most of our maritime experts who pretend to be arbiter of maritime affairs to keep quiet and let peace and progress reign. We have been having problems and confusion in the maritime sector and that must stop. Enough is enough. We just felt we need to come as one. Unfortunately, some cankerworms and enemies of the economy, who also feel they must be father of all times now, want to stall it. It won’t happen”, Chukwu said.
The SNFFIEC boss debunked Aniebonam’s allegation that MAAG takes decision without consulting individual associations, describing the comment as most unfortunate.
“No document went out without inputs of stakeholders. Eugene Nweke represents NAGAFF and he is contributing much to MAAG. He was at the meeting. It was from the meeting that we wrote the National Assembly and introductory letter. We did not write on any issue. Therefore, it is not true that issues are taken to the National Assembly without inputs from individual associations. It is a lie. Besides, you can be speaking about the affairs of MAAG on pages of newspapers. Press should be the last resort. Again, anyone trying to discredit MAAG is enemy of the sector and the economy. If there are divergent views on an issue, we put it to vote. Therefore, if that does not favor your association, you threaten to pull out. That is blackmail. That is mischief. Besides, if one association pulls out, it’ll still stand”, he said.
Chukwu said Alhaji Hassan Dantata thought it wise for all associations in the maritime sector to come together and as was unanimously chosen to be the National Coordinator of MAAG.
“He is a businessman. He is into maritime haulage. He has good antecedent and pedigree. He has already added power for MAAG to takeoff. He is a neutral person. We clamored for him to takeover to stem the rough tide of bribery and corruption, which our members indulge in. Some are only clamoring for only three associations to be recognized and we said no. Therefore, we are supporting him in all ramifications. Many of our maritime groups are for selfish interest. The maritime sector has come a long way yet with a lot of diluted stuffs, suppressions, digressions, etc. Now if any association wants to destabilize MAAG, we’ll destabilize that association,” he added.
MAAG was formed last year and is comprised of various associations and unions in the sector.