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Freight Monitor

Freight forwarders flay compromised posture of government agencies in containment of unfair trade practices of  shipping companies

Ibrahim Tanko


Eyewitness reporter
Freight Forwarders, who ply their trade at the Lagos ports, have accused the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), Nigerian Shippers’Council and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) of a sell-out in the struggle to have fair trade practices with the shipping companies.
It would be recalled that the amalgam of the freight forwarders from the National Government Approved  Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF) and the Association of Nigerian  Licensed Customs  Agents (ANLCA)  has engaged the predominantly foreign shipping companies over operational issues of extortion, indiscriminate and arbitrary charges.
In the course of the trade dispute, the angry freight forwarders had twice issued notices of service withdrawal if their grievances were not met.
However, in order to stave off service disruption, the CRFFN, in collaboration with the Shippers Council and NPA, had called for a truce by calling for a peace meeting between the two warring parties.
Unfortunately, the peace meeting was deadlocked.
However, the freight forwarders have accused the three government agencies of high level of insincerity and deceit over their mediatory roles in the conflict.
Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the 100 percent compliance team of NAGAFF, who is one of the leaders of the protesting Customs brokers, lamented that the three agencies have abandoned the freight forwarders in their struggle with the shipping companies.
While ventilating the feelings of the aggrieved freight forwarders, Ibrahim accused the three agencies of grandstanding and playing the ostrich.
“We trusted them ( the three agencies) before and that was why we listened to them when they called for a truce.
“But event in recent times and the body language of the officials of these agencies have demonstrated their insincerity and deceit.
“We do not trust them anymore as they have abandoned us in the hours of our struggle and betrayed the trust we had in them” Alhaji Tanko lamented.
He alleged that the agencies may have been compromised for them to look the other way while the foreign agents are milking the Nigerian freight forwarders through unbridled extortions and arbitrary charges.
Tanko further disclosed that the attitude of the three regulatory agencies, which he said are supposed to protect the interests of customs brokers, has further emboldened the shipping companies in their exploitative practices which he lamented, are being perpetrated with undisguised impunity.
“Maybe the three government agencies are enjoying the problems we are going through. If not, they should do something before something gives” he warned.
Tanko declared that the level of disenchantment among the freight forwarders is so high that if the leadership should ask them to give vent to their anger, a lot of harm could be unleashed on port businesses.
“That is why the leadership of the freight forwarders is still managing the situation by not allowing them to disrupt port operations through strike action.
“We know the maritime business is very critical to the economic well being of the country, therefore we are still showing restraint despite the compromised posture of those whose statutory duties are to protect us.
“We are still pursuing the path of peace through continuous dialogue not because we are afraid to make good our threat to go on strike but because of the responsible leadership which does not wish to hurt the economy and the people we lead” Tanko claimed.
He however warned that if the relevant agencies of government fail to call the recalcitrant shipping companies to order in their punitive operational practices, the leadership of the freight forwarders may be left with no other option than to call the restive freight forwarders out on strike.
“It is not over until it is over. The struggle continues but we may not be able to contain the agitations of the oppressed freight forwarders much longer if the impunity of the shipping companies is not quickly checked” the NAGAFF chieftain declared in an ominous tone
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Freight Monitor

Tanko bags Lagos State Arewa chieftaincy title

Ibrahim Tanko
—- to be turbaned in Lagos
Eyewitness reporter
The Deputy President, Western Zone of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) , Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, is set to join the revered Lagos State Council of Arewa Chiefs.
He has been nominated as the Daniyan Lagos by the traditional Council of Hausa community in Lagos.
 In a letter of nomination exclusively obtained by our reporter, dated January 10th, 2022, and signed by Alhaji Ahmed Danbata, the General Secretary of the Council of Arewa Chiefs, the Council said the nomination of the Chairman of NAGAFF 100 percent Compliance team was informed by his full participation and contribution to the development of Arewa Community in Lagos State.
“I am directed by the Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos State and Chairman Lagos State Council of Arewa Chief to inform you of your nomination as the DANIYAN LAGOS.
“This nomination is due to your full participation and contribution to the development of Arewa Community in Lagos State”, the letter of nomination said.
The DANIYAN title confers on the holder the traditional powers to be a member of the council of Arewa in Lagos State which represents the vast Hausa community in Lagos and by extension also confers a political leadership of the Hausa community in Lagos State.
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Freight Monitor

Farinto bombs Mustapha, Oforbike

Kayode Farinto
describes them as Customs’ camp boys, apologists’

Eyewitness reporter
There seems to be no end in sight for the sweltering war of attrition between the Tony Iju -led Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the factional leaders of the association led by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and John Oforbike as the brickbats between the warring groups have continued unabated.
Yesterday in Lagos, Kayode Farinto, the Vice-President of ANLCA, described the leaders of the factional group as renegades, Customs’ “camp boys and apologists” who front for Customs to perpetrate illicit practices at the ports.
Farinto was reacting to the allegation that he engaged in transactions of illicit trade at the ports.
The factional leaders have alleged that Farinto resorted to ceaseless attacks on the Customs because they have plugged the loopholes he exploited to carry out his illicit practices at the ports.
Dismissing the allegation as laughable, Farinto said the factional leaders resorted to blackmail in order to assassinate his name out of frustration arising from their expulsion from the association.
 “I have been a member of ANLCA for over 20 years and I just heard about Taiwo Mustapha just six years ago. After bribing his way through with N500,000, now he’s rubbing his shoulder with me.
“He is a Customs’ apologist and cannot assassinate my character. He and members of his group are not members of the association anymore because they have been expelled.
“In the association, I am his senior hence, he shouldn’t rub shoulder with me.” Farinto declared.
While dismissing what he called the falsehood being spread by the factional leaders that the tenure of Tony Iju as the President of ANLCA ends in February 2022, Farinto said the current ANLCA NECOM members will vacate the office in April 8th, 2023.
“The constitution of ANLCA has been amended and we agreed at the meeting that we should have a single term of five years for National Executive Committee (NECOM), BoT, and for all chapter chairmen.

“We agreed that the constitutional amendment begins from the tenure of Hon. Tony Iju hence, the present executive tenure ends on 18th April 2023″, he declared.

He declared that the tenure of Taiwo Mustapha as BoT chairman of the association has since expired and that he had been expelled from the ANLCA which made him ineligible to hold any position or conduct elections on behalf of the association.
“Mustapha cannot conduct elections in ANLCA, if I may ask, he wants to conduct elections as what? because he has been expelled from the association and ceases to be a member,” he said.
He also said the new BoT members of the association are headed by the Executive Vice- Chairman, Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, and Ozo Chukwura as the Vice-Chairman.

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Freight Monitor

Contenders for CRFFN board express frustration over continued election delay

Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation
Eyewitness reporter
Contenders for the plum positions on the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) have lamented the indefinite postponement of elections into the board of the council.
The candidates, who are vying for the 15 positions reserved for the body of freight forwarders on the 32- member board, expressed frustration and agitations over what they described as deliberate attempts by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to wear them out with endless and needless wait.
It could be recalled that Amaechi had in September 2021,  set up an electoral committee to conduct the elections into the CRFFN governing board.
The committee had scheduled the elections for October 11, 2021, which never took place.
The postponement was as a result of the controversy over independent candidature which the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the two leading freight forwarders groups among the five accredited associations, had vehemently opposed.
This has stalemated the run-on to the elections in addition to the sharing of the positions on the board on the 6-6-1-1-1 ratio in favour of the two leading freight forwarders groups.
The Minister had therefore ordered that the elections be put on hold pending the time the crisis of confidence over the controversial sharing formula and independent candidature among the body of freight forwarders was resolved.
Consequently, all the candidates were later invited to a peace meeting in Abuja where the matter was expected to be resolved.
However, according to a source close to the CRFFN board contenders, the meeting was never held as the Minister has since then perpetually kept the contenders in waiting.
“We were first invited to Abuja for a meeting with the Minister on November 26th, 2021.
“But when we were all seated in the conference room of the ministry, waiting for the Minister, he just sauntered in and told us he could not hold any meeting as he was tired and he then walked out.
” They gave us another appointment fixed for December 3rd, 2021 only to get there and learnt that the Minister had followed President Muhammadu Buhari on an investment trip to Dubai.
” It was so frustrating as we spent money on accommodation and feeding on those two occasions while waiting for the Minister” the source lamented.
He also declared that some of them have spent so much on the postponed elections.
“We bought nomination form for N500,00 and spent millions of Naira to register our members for voting.
“Now this waiting game that has no end” the exasperated source complained in a bitter tone.
He urged the Minister to put an end to the waiting game by allowing the elections to be conducted as soon as possible because, according to him, nature abhors a vacuum.
“Let him make whatever decision he wants to make and allow the elections to hold because, as it is now, the absence of a governing council of the CRFFN doesn’t augur well for the welfare of our members who are now like sheep without shepherd”
“The body of freight forwarders cannot continue to leave their destinies in the hands of those government appointees in the CRFFN  secretariat who lack the knowledge of the industry, especially the Registrar who lacks requisite competence to oversee the complex world of freight forwarding industry ” the embittered source declared.
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