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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

President Buhari to commission multi-billion naira Dala Inland dry port Monday –Ahmad Rabiu

The Eyewitness reporter
All is set for the commissioning of the Dala International inland dry port on Monday 31st January 2023 by President Muhammad Buhari at Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.
The Managing Director of the international inland dry port Ahmad Rabiu, stated this while addressing newsmen on the preparation for the inauguration of the port at its headquarters in Kano.
Ahmad Rabiu, who was joined by the chairman of the inland dry port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro, said its the first international inland dry port where cargoes will go anywhere in the world from Kano state without follow up to any sea ports across Nigeria.
Ahmad Rabiu told newsmen that the federal government under President Muhammad Buhari has given all the support required for the take-up, noting that they have met the requirement on infrastructure and other critical amenities.
The MD said the stacking area has the capacity of containing 20 thousand units of containers before moving anywhere at any time, noting that the area covers six hectares of land and the management is willing to add more.
According to Ahmad Rabiu, all the requirements needed for clearance by businessmen, and customs duty will be done right from Kano without follow-up to any seaport in Nigeria.
On his part, the chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro said the management of the port is prepared technically, and physically with interested partners and is going to boost businesses in Kano, Nigeria and Africa in general and urged members of the press to partner with the management in ensuring efficiency, emphasizing that the place is not a monument but a business venture.
The chairman said Dala Inland Dry Port is now a solution to the problems brought about by the seaports and they will introduce cargo tracking and door-to-door delivery of goods and services.
He said the success of the inland dry port is a joint venture between the state government, the business community, regulatory agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria and to make business in Kano and its neighborhood more competitive.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN rejects re-appointment bid of ousted Sam Nwakohu

Ousted CRFFN Registrar, Nwakohu
— appoints Uromta as Acting Registrar
—-shops for substantive Registrar.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Council for the Registration of Freight forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) has thrown out the re-election bid of the outgoing Registrar of the Council, Sam Nwakohu.
In an emergency meeting of the council Thursday at its Abuja liaison office, the Council appointed Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, the Director of Regulations and Enforcement, as an acting Registrar pending the time a substantive registrar will be appointed.
The decision of the council to reject the reelection bid of the ousted Registrar was based on the recommendations of its ad hoc committee to look into the request of Nwakohu for a second term tenure.
The outgoing registrar, last year, at the December meeting of the council, submitted a letter, requesting to be considered for a second term shot at the lucrative position.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni set up an ad-hoc committee, headed by Efeanyi Isikaku, to look into the request of Nwakohu and submit its report in two weeks.
“Following the completion of its assignment and submission of its report, the council, therefore, convened today (Thursday)in Abuja to deliberate on the next line of action to be taken in respect of the committee’s recommendations.
” The AdHoc committee made important recommendations with reference to the provisions of Public Service Rules as well as the council’s Act.
“The committee however, recommended that in order to avoid a vacuum after the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, the council shall start making arrangements for a handover of the Registrar’s office to the most senior management staff of the council.
“Similarly, the committee also recommended that the Appointment Promotion and Discipline committee of the council be directed to start making preparations for reappointment or appointment of substantive Registrar”  Muftahu Ya’u, the chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the governing council,  declared in a statement he sent to our reporter.
 “Finally, the council’s chairman soon after the adoption, approval, and ratification of the committee’s recommendations by members of the council directed the followings:
that arrangement for the Registrar’s handover to Mrs. Chinyere Uromta  Director, Regulations and Enforcement on 31st of January 2023.
“That committee on Appointment Promotion and Discipline go ahead to start preparations for reappointment/appointment of a new Registrar” the head of media and publicity of the council concluded.
It could be recalled that soon after Nwakohu made his ambition known to succeed himself as the Registrar of the council, he went on a lobbying spree, trying to woo the council members to buy into his ambition.
But sources close to the council whispered to our reporter that the second term bid of Nwakohu was dead on arrival due to lots of baggage he carries.
“There was no way he could have succeeded in his obnoxious bid to succeed himself.
Firstly, it was a general consensus among the freight forwarding confraternity that Nwakohu failed woefully as the registrar.
“He is incompetent, arrogant and someone not ready to learn,” a highly placed source said.
“Also, several allegations of financial sleaze against him have not been cleared.
“Similarly, the council members were not happy at the way Nwakohu handled the purchase of the CRFFN Abuja liaison office which cost they felt was inflated.
“All these and other uncharitable behavior of the outgoing registrar are enough reasons not to reappoint him as the Council registrar” the source claimed.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN outgoing Registrar, Sam Nwakohu, lobbies Council for second term in office

Nwakohu
— as he bows out in February.
—-Freight forwarders reject his comeback bid
The Eyewitness reporter
The outgoing Registrar of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), Samuel Nwakohu, is making last minutes efforts to get a second term tenure in office as the head of the freight forwarding regulatory body.
The outgoing Registrar, who was appointed in February 2019, will exit the council in February 2023 after four years in office.
Our reporter gathered exclusively that Nwakohu was not in a hurry to leave office as he has written to the governing council of the regulatory body about his intention to apply for a second term tenure.
At the December meeting of the council in Abuja, the application letter of the outgoing registrar for a second term tenure was read and a committee was raised to look into his request to return.
Confirming the development, Kayode Farinto, a member of the ad-hoc committee on the second term bid of Nwakohu, said the committee was given two weeks to submit its findings to the council which has the statutory rights to make recommendations on the bid of the Registrar to the Minister of Transportation, Engr Muazu Sambo.
However, our reporter gathered that Sam Nwakohu has embarked on intense lobbying of the committee members and other notable stakeholders in the industry in a bid to clinch the second term tenure.
Kayode Farinto however denied knowledge of any lobby tactics of the outgoing Registrar.
‘I am not aware if he is lobbying or not but what I know is that his letter intimating the council on his second term bid was read at our last council meeting where a committee was raised to look into the issue” he said.
It was gathered that the committee had its first meeting Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 at Rockview Hotel, Apapa Lagos where members deliberated on the chances of Nwakohu.
Meanwhile, there was generally a foul mood among freight forwarders against the outgoing Registrar.
They unanimously dismissed the second-term bid of Nwakohu as obscene, unwarranted and an insult to the collective psyche of freight forwarders given what they all agreed was his unmitigated failure.
“He doesn’t merit a second term in office as the registrar of CRFFN. His tenure was an unmitigated disaster. He is arrogant. He doesn’t relate well with the freight forwarders. He is quick to anger. He distanced himself from his immediate constituency” Alhaji Mukaila Abdulaziz declared.
“We need someone who is ready to learn, we need someone who listens to correction, and suggestions without taking offence.
”Personally, I do not want to see him (Sam Nwakohu) return as the Registrar of CRFFN” the ANLCA scribe concluded.
Mr Ojo Akintoye, the ANLCA chapter chairman of the Tin Can Island port spoke in a similar manner.
When he was asked if the outgoing Registrar deserves a return ticket to the office, Akintoye thundered “No, absolutely no”
“What has he achieved in the four years he was there as the Registrar? Absolutely nothing. His impact was not felt in the industry. The industry didn’t feel the impact of the CRFFN during his tenure. Others should be given a chance to prove their mettle” he said.
Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the immediate past President of ANLCA declined to comment, tactically evading the assessment of the outgoing Registrar.
”I don’t want to discuss CRFFN. It is not worth it.  Since the time I resigned from the council, the body has lost direction. It has lost its focus. It has become a means of making money for some people.
”Could you imagine that some people, since 2007 when the council started, have been in the council, recycling themselves to make money?
Since the council has lost focus, I have equally lost interest in its affairs” the ANLCA chieftain declared.
Similarly, Prince Ozo Chukurah, the Vice Chairman of ANLCA BOT evaded the request to assess the performance of the outgoing Registrar  because” I am no longer in the council”
But indication is rife that the desperate bid of Sam Nwakohu to retain his plum job may not materialise as he was said to have stepped on many toes through what angry stakeholders described as his arrogant posture on issues and little or no knowledge of the industry he is meant to regulate.
This is coupled with the litany of allegations of financial impropriety that dogged his tenure.
He was said to have lived a flamboyant life on the resources of the CRFFN to the chagrin of the council members, some of whom have vowed to block his chances of coming back as the Registrar.
Mr Nwohohu is believed to have proceeded on his terminal leave in December prior to his final disengagement in February 2023 as the de facto Registrar
Sources said his many “sins” he committed in the course of his tenure will likely hurt his chances of coming back.
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