Following the just concluded maiden edition of the stakeholders’ meeting between the new Customs Area Controller of the PTML Customs Command, Mr. Folorunsho Adegoke and the leaders of the freight forwarding associations under the command a fortnight ago, the former Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) PTML Chapter, Mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi has petition the Customs Area Controller of the command over what he called gagging the stakeholders by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Steve Okonmah.
In the petition he titled, “ Gagging the Stakeholders”, Mr. Nnadi expressed his displeasure over the comment he credited to Mr. Okonmah to the effect that only the Chairmen of the registered associations present at the meeting would be allowed to address issues at the meeting describing it as gagging the stakeholders.
He disclosed that there was no way the stakeholders would make their opinion on some issues bothering on the command known through the Chairmen who in his opinion were the cause of most of the problems they go through in the process of carrying out their operations at the terminal.
Nnadi further informed the CAC that the stakeholders meeting at the command level was statutorily authorized by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi to be held monthly at every command.
According to him,” I personally have attended many of such meetings in other commands even taken flights to Abuja and Katsina to be part of the meetings and which has always been no-holds-barred and not where the Chairmen would say they know how they have organized themselves to make things work for them which is not in the interest of the majority”.
He therefore pointed out that the Command’s PRO should be made to rescind that decision in subsequent meetings and allow for individual input of every stakeholder present at any meeting of such magnitude if he (the CAC) was to get result in the command.
In a swift reaction, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) PTML Chapter has dissociated itself from the petition purportedly written by the former Chairman of the Chapter, mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi saying that the petition did not enjoy its support.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Champion, the incumbent Chairman of NAGAFF of the said chapter, Eze Elect Goodluck Onunji expressed his surprise over the said petition adding that the meeting in question was between the new Customs Area Controller of the Command and the leaders of the freight forwarding associations under the command.
Onunji further said that the development was more worrisome as Nnadi as a former Chairman of the chapter was not part of the people invited for the meeting only that he got wind of the meeting and decided to come and disrupt proceedings at the meeting.
According to him,” whatever he has said in that petition against Mr. Steve Okonmah, the Customs PRO of PTML Command, NAGAFF is not party to it and we don’t support such petition”.
“The stakeholders’ meeting held was mainly between the customs and the leaders of the associations, it was not for everybody. For coming to the meeting uninvited, claiming to be representing NAGAFF headquarters, I have to make it known to everybody that NAGAFF headquarters had never sent Ugochukwu Nnadi to represent it in that meeting and therefore anybody seeing him at PTML parading himself either as the chairman as a representative of NAGAFF should avoid him and have nothing to do with him”.
He pointed out that the said Nnadi had served the association in his capacity as the chairman which eventually did not end well as he was impeached by the executive working with him adding that since the day he was impeached, Nnadi had never been comfortable with that ugly incident thus doing everything possible to bring NAGAFF at the Chapter down.
The Eze elect however observed that everybody present at the stakeholders’ meeting was given an opportunity to make contributions which was later rounded up by the Chairmen of the various associations present at the meeting.
He went on to say that Nnadi although not invited to the meeting, he even came late to the meeting and forced himself to speak when the chairmen of the associations must have spoken and adjournment of the meeting moved.
He however condemn the act of using the NAGAFF letter heading to petition the CAC when he was not among those authorized by the association’s constitution to do so more so for his personal use saying that,” the act has shown me that something has gone wrong within him because on no account can he come up and use NAGAFF letter heading for his personal purpose”.
He therefore called on the shipping companies, the customs, the government agencies and all the stakeholders operating at the PTML terminal to disregard any letter written by Ugochukwu Nnadi with NAGAFF letter heading as anybody who honours the content of such letter would be doing that at his own risk.
Also speaking, the customs PRO, PTML Command, Mr. Steve Okonmah stated that invitation for the meeting which was sent out from his office was meant for seven members each from the freight forwarding associations under the PTML command and that the meeting was not open for everybody.
Okonmah disclosed that at no no time did the command extend invitation to individuals or associations outside the purview of the command arguing that however, if Ugochukwu Nnadi had been sent from the NAGAFF headquarters as he claimed, he would have liaised with his executive at the PTML chapter in order that there would be order.
He collaborated Chief onunji’s position that the said Nnadi was late for the meeting and insisted that he must be given opportunity to speak at the meeting which they unanimously obliged him based on his personal recognition as against the procedure at the command.
He therefore wondered what prompted the petition eve as he faulted the use of the NAGAFF Headquarters letter heading in writting such petition which he did not do in any official capacity describing the act as criminal.
He warned that the command would not hesitate to send away anybody that was not in the list of invitees to any of the command’ s meeting or whatsoever insisting that order must be strictly enforced at the command if they must make progress.