Freight forwarding practitioners under the aegis of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) accredited associations have condemned the call made by the President, Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarders (NIFF), Dr. Zebulon Ikokide for the delisting of the registered freight forwarding association from the membership of the CRFFN describing it as self-driven and self-serving.
Dr. Ikokide had earlier called for delisting of the five registered freight forwarding associations accusing them of sabotaging the efforts of the CRFFN and posing a threat to the corporate existence of the council following their consistent resistance of all effort aimed towards revitalizing the council for optimal performance. He argued that only in de-registration of the registered associations could the council know peace.
But reacting to the call, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu stated that Dr. Ikokide was making such suggestion as a way of getting back at the associations for resisting his plan to make his institute which according to was a private institute sole training institute for the CRFFN as there were other institutes and universities in the country offering the same courses he offer at his institute.
Shittu pointed out that because nobody go to his institute for training, he clandestinely worked with the Governing Council of CRFFN to adopt his own institute as the official institute whereas the Act did not give CRFFN power to own institute rather it was supposed to accredit courses at the Universities and institutes.
“Even this amendment, they had listed his institute to be the official institute of CRFFN, so, because we in the associations refused to be carried along in such kangaroo arrangement, his anger is on us. If they de-list ANLCA from CRFFN today, is it not good bye to bad rubbish for all of us? Because we have to pay money to CRFFN for ANLCA to be registered. So, we don’t even need to be registered with CRFFN in the first place and association by people is guaranteed in the constitution as a fundamental human right, you cannot scrap the associations.
“So, he is hungry, he didn’t like the way we tackled some areas in the proposed amendment because he is afraid of his institute becoming the official institute of CRFFN being tampered with. So, definitely, anybody who is talking about that, he will be angry with the person because he now sees an opportunity because they told us then that if you don’t have certificate from his private institute, you cannot be renewed with the CRFFN and we said no, our members have the right to go to any school. So, can you now see that the man is talking from the selfish point of view because the man wants to eat something before time passes? He is an old man but some of us are even as old as he is.
“He is already calculating, by the time this year’s budget comes, how much of it will be allocated for training and he will be able to eat something from there. Then who are the owners of the institute? Now forgetting that some of us have gone to the Corporate Affairs and we have gotten the details of those who started the institute, more like an association too, like anybody opening a school. So, why do you think you are superior? And when they are talking of membership of the Council, you say you must be there as if you own the right to be there because you have perfected a way for your institute to be absolved so that you will now be the representing the institute, I mean, are we going to die inside the port because of money?”, he queried.
On his part, the founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam stated that with time, he tend to see Dr. Ikokide as somebody who had a habit of betrayal, which he said was not a very good character saying that he would not want to go further on the issue for a single reason that he was a friend even though he (Aniebonam) had some doubt about his character if he could suggest that.
“I will not be dragged into making statements that I should not make as a leader, as a very responsible person but this threat of betrayal in Ikokide I getting to my nerve as a person”, he submitted.
Also speaking, the President General of the National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC), Mr. Chukwka Ani Thomas Agubamah noted that Dr. Ikokide was in the forefront of those who brought about the enactment of the CRFFN Act.
He noted that in the bill that preceded the enactment of the CRFFN Act, certain associations which included Dr. Ikokide’s institute were mentioned and provided for in the bill but when the bill finally became an Act, the names of the associations were expunged from the Act leaving the Act with no specific association adding that that may be what Dr. Ikokide was alluding to.
According to him,” I really sympathize with Dr. Ikokide, how he feels about the whole thing but I do not subscribe to his solution to the tyranny of the big battalion in our industry. I think Dr. Ikokide was alluding to the problems associations created for CRFFN but I think he missed some points, although the CRFFN Act empowers CRFFN to regulate and control all the freight forwarding associations in the country, it has been difficult for CRFFN to control and regulate them because of associations who think they are big associations nto wanting to be regulated or controlled by CRFFN.
“Now, if you are unable to control your son within the house, is it when you push him outside that you will be able to control him? This is where Dr. Ikokide is missing the point. What has disturbed the CRFFN is the number of suits that some associations are dragging them into but it is on record that CRFFN has not lost one of those cases because the provisions of the Act are very clear and regulations arising out of the Act are also clear and these were the regulations passed by the governing council.
“I do not agree with my brother, Dr. Ikokide that delisting the associations from the control and regulation of CRFFN will reduce the influence the associations will have against the fortunes of the council. If you delist them and they are not under your control, it will be difficult to control and regulate them. It is good to have them but make provisions within the regulations to really give the CRFFN more teeth to bite. There are regulations that can tame all these tyrannical tendencies”.
Contributing, the National President, Association of Registered Freight forwarders Nigeria, Dr. Frank Ukor submitted that he was very surprised that such suggestion could come from Dr. Ikokide as he was supposed to be a man of letters who understood what the Act said and that the Act listed categories of membership of CRFFN even as he recalled that the council was supposed to regulate and control all associations operating in the freight forwarding industry as that was the law.
Ukor noted that he won’t say that Dr. Ikokide was talking out of ignorance for calling that CRFFN should go ahead and delist the association adding that he purposely wanted to twist the whole thing.
He pointed out that,” What did the law say is that all the freight forwarding associations should be controlled and regulated by the CRFFN. So, it is unfortunate that he should make such a statement but be that as it may, it is just his own personal opinion. Everybody will believe he is not serious because if he is serious, they just concluded public hearing on the CRFFN amendment bill, what stopped him from chipping it in for amendment so that it will be captured in the amendment? He didn’t do it and he is now talking about it. So, why talking about it now that he knows that it will not have any effect whatsoever?
When reminded that Dr. Ikokide said he will push for the delisting when the Governing Council of CRFFN which he hoped to be a member is constituted, he observed,” No, problem, when it happens, we will see it because he is not the only one that will be there on the Board, the other associations will be there on Board. But be that as it may, no matter how you look at it, it is not the associations that are causing the problems; it is individuals that have stakes in the associations. Why people go to court is that they want things to be done properly, it is for the court to interpret the law and say this is exactly how it is and if it happens like that, we take it like that. But we feel that things are not working out the way it should, that is why people go to court and eventually, gradually, everything will be okay.
“Even if you say you want to delist all the associations, what about the individuals? Are they going to delist them too? Or can’t they go to court? Of course, individuals have every right to take CRFFN to court. So, what I am saying is that the problems that we have with CRFFN is stakeholders and when you talk about stakeholders, I am talking about the individuals because it is the individuals that will begin to talk about it before it gets to the level of the associations which may want to take it further”.
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