The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was established by the Act 16 of 2007 to among other things, “determine the persons or classes of persons who constitute Freight Forwarders for the purpose of the Act, determine the standard of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to be registered as freight forwarders and raising those standards from time to time in accordance with international industry practice and regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding”.
Others are, “ regulating and controlling all the associations of freight forwarding agents, regulating and controlling persons who are engaged in freight forwarding, ensuring uniform standards of professional conduct and education relevant to freight forwarding practice, promoting the highest standards of competence, practice and conduct among members of the profession, securing in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the establishment and maintenance of registers of persons entitled to practice as registered freight forwarders and the publication from time to time of the list of such persons”, among others.
Suffice it to say that with the establishment of this young Council, it was faced with many challenges which included funding, accommodation, general re-orientation of persons engaged in freight forwarding profession, riding of the profession of touts and hoodlums and charting the way forward for the Council.
As the Council was battling to position itself for the challenges ahead, it was bedeviled with the status question, by this, I mean whether or not the Council is a private one or a government agency just like other regulatory agencies. This, the judiciary has since 2014 given the answer that the council is a government agency and not a private council as perceived in some quarters.
The Court did not only ruled that the council is a government agency, it also directed the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Transport to stop starving the council of fund as it should be funded from the yearly budget of the federal government thus saving the council of the embarrassing situation caused it by lack of funds to execute its mandates.
Since the exit of the first Governing Council of CRFFN, the running of Council squarely fall on the shoulders of one man, the Registrar and Chief Executive, Sir Mike Jukwe with its attendance criticisms from the stakeholders in the industry.
Sir Jukwe in his efforts to revitalize the council even without the needed fund could be described as the most criticized public figure in Nigeria after President Goodluck Jonathan as he had been variously described as ineptitude, lacking focus, inexperience and most recently being teleguided by the members of the past Governing Council of the Council.
Nonethless, Jukwe continued his silence revolution of the Council with a determination of man who only knows the direction to his destination as he refused to join issues with his detractors maintaining that the end would only justify the means adding that the people would judge him by his work.
Two years on, after the dissolution of the first governing council of CRFFN, many are beginning to see the works of this hard working Nigeria manifest itself only for them to do nothing than to resolve to work together with him to achieve the lofty goals of the Council.
For the benefit of doubt, it is on record that under Sir Mike Jukwe, CRFFN has accredited the Certificate in Freight Forwarding and executive Diploma in Freight Forwarding developed jointly by the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria and the Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarders (NIFF) which had since been introduced in Nigeria since 2014.
CRFFN has accredited one tertiary institution in each of the six geo-political zones with additional one in Delta State and five in Lagos State bringing the number to twelve to offer education and training programmes in freight forwarding, logistics and supply chain management in Nigeria while accreditation of training institutions is continuous.
On the directive of Sir Mike Jukwe, a meeting of Chief Executive Officers of all Practitioners’ Regulatory Councils in Nigeria was convened for the first time by CRFFN in April, 2012. The meeting was aimed at providing a forum for the Chief Executives to meet periodlcally to compare notes and exchange ideas on how best to deliver on their individual mandates and attendant challenges which are common to all of them. The second meeting of the Chief Executive Officers of all Practitioners’ Regulatory Council in Nigeria was again convened by CRFFN on the 16th December, 2014 while the next meeting is scheduled for March 2015.
Also, three Training-of Trainers (TOT) programmes in Freight Forwarding were held for the first time in Nigeria in 2012 after which the International Professional Diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management to be issued by the World Regulatory Body, FIATA was accredited in the United Stated of America in 2012. Similarly, three Training-of-Trainers (TOT) programmes in Supply Chain Management were held for the first time in Nigeria in 2013 after which the International Professional Higher Diploma in Supply Chain Management to be also issued by FIATA was accredited in Singapore in October, 2013 making the country to be so accredited in Africa.
That was not all as CRFFN in conjunction with the National Board for technical Education (NBTE) will soon come up with the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management while the accredited Universities to offer degree courses in Freight Forwarding and Supply Chain Management will be approaching the National Universities Commission for accreditation.
According to Jukwe in a chat with newsmen in Lagos,” CRFFN has secured the recognition of the National Council on Transport for the FIATA international professional Diploma and Higher Diploma in Freight Forwarding and Supply chain Management respectively in 2013. CRFFN has also secured the recognition of the National council on Transport for the participation of indigenous Freight Forwarders in government projects with freight forwarding component in line with the local content Act to boost national economy”.
“Capacity building for the Council’s staff is on the front burner too, in 2013, CRFFN held the Management and Staff Retreat as well as a training programme in Makurdi, Benue State from 6th to 9th December, 2013. Similarly, the CRFFN Management and Staff retreat/training programme was held in Freight Forwarders’ Headquarters, GRA, Apapa Lagos from the 1st to 5th December, 2014”.
It may not be over statement to state also that under Sir Mike Jukwe as the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of CRFFN, that the Council commenced the Certificate in Freight Forwarding, the International Professional Diploma in Freight Forwarding and the Higher Diploma in Supply Chain Management for the first time in Nigeria in 2014 conducted nationwide by some of the accredited training institutions. The first set of sixty-four (64) candidates will be graduating in March, 2015.
It is also worthy of note that under Jukwe’s administration, CRFFN is among the five promoters of and subscribers of the first Corridor Management Group in West Africa, that is, the LAKAJI (Lagos-Kano-Jibiya) Corridor Management Group.
As a result of his pioneering role in the industry, the 2014 (14th) National Council on Transport by resolution 4.30 paved the way for effective implementation of CRFFN mandate having urged the Federal Ministry of Transport to give CRFFN all necessary support to deliver on its mandate.
Furthermore, Jukwe is one man who likes carrying everybody along in his activities as the case of master-servant relationship does not apply in his dictionary of running the Council. A testimony of it is a Summit of accredited training institutions and Freight Forwarding associations which held at the Freight Forwarding Headquarters on the 5th December, 2014.
Recall that CRFFN was on the 12th of August, 2014 admitted into the membership of the Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSMP) as the second African nation next to South Africa . Arrangements are almost concluded to set up the second Supply Chain Management Roundtable in Nigeria before the end of the second quarter of 2015.
To cap it all, the Enforcement Team of the Council to enforce the Council’s regulations had been trained, equipped and are ready to effectively enforce the relevant provisions of the CRFFN mandate. Recall that the Freight Forwarders’ Investigation Panel as well as the Freight Forwarders’ Disciplinary Tribunal were inaugurated on the 30th of April, 2011 by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
What else would one say rather than to call on all and sundry to rally round a mind that is destined to take the freight forwarding profession like the Joshua of the old to the promised land of professionalism, standardization and internationally accepted best practices?
But in what seemed to look like a solidarity, the National President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Eugene Nweke noted that in the past five or six years, CRFFN had weathered the storm adding that they disagreed as well as reasoned together to the fact that they would not continue to allow the profession to decay because of the perhaps their differences in ideas of presentation.
He said,” so, on that ground, we said no, let us put aside whatever nomenclature that we have, you know, it is a profession and again, one question that we have asked ourselves is that what legacy are we bequeathing to the younger ones hereafter. Therefore, we have no reasoned than to come together to think about the profession and how to sustain it”.