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Freight Monitor

The newly elected CRFFN governing board would be the worst in history—-freight forwarders lament.

CRFFN governing board voting process on Wednesday at Lagos centre
—–say elections marred by rigging, vote-buying
Opeyemi Adesogbon
Some aggrieved freight forwarders have described the Wednesday elections into the governing board of the Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as lacking in merit and integrity as, according to them, the whole process was marred by irregularities.
Some of them, who spoke to our reporter, claimed the process was hijacked by rented mercenaries, who were brought in from Mushin and Ajegunle to vote at the Western zone venue of the elections in Lagos.
They, therefore, declared that such a convoluted process could not bring anything positive but failure.
“This new CRFFN board will be the worst in history of the Council as most of the people thrown up by this warped process are nothing by neophytes and sycophants who have no agenda for the betterment of the freight forwarders” one of the aggrieved customs brokers who craved anonymity, declared.
“The new council is condemned to fail as it is not going to be any different from the last one which was a colossal failure”, another respondent fumed.
However, our reporter who was on the ground to monitor the elections at the Lagos centre, observed that the election was characterized by several anomalies including poor organization, late arrival of materials, and hired touts participating in the election.
As at 10: 00 am when voting was scheduled to commence, materials were not yet on ground and as a result of the delay, voting did not start till around 12:15 pm, giving room for a series of manipulations, including printing of fake identity cards.

One of the clearing agents, Godfrey Nwosu, who spoke with our reporter, said the conduct of the election was against the provisions of the CRFFN Act on voters’ eligibility.

Nwosu accused those who were elected into the governing board of not having any agenda to deliver on but are only going to the Council to act on a written script.

“This regime of CRFFN electoral committee has succeeded in achieving their ulterior motive.

“The provisions of the CRFFN Act on eligibility to vote were not taken into cognizance.
” The Act provides that for you to vote or even be voted for, the individual must have been a member of the Council for not less than two years.
” But what we observed at the venue of the election today (Wednesday) did not suffice.

“So, I am not expecting anything new from the individuals that made it into the governing council other than failure.

“Those of them who succeeded into the Council today are going to play a written script. None among them have an agenda or even mandate to deliver.
“By Friday, go to their base and you will see them celebrating. What are they celebrating? Victory for all or for who they believe in?

“We are going to see the worst reflection of the last governing council.

“This board is a replica of an assembly. Don’t forget that the governing board is supposed to be a platform where motions on shipping companies, terminal operators, Customs and even other government agencies are moved in view of their inordinate operational procedures.
.” The Council is supposed to raise issues from there and begin to address it but I tell you nothing different will happen from what we have seen in the past.”

Emmanuel Onyeme, another aggrieved clearing agent, described the majority of the new governing council members as bench warmers.

According to him, many of them do not have the capacity to make meaningful inputs that would ensure that freight forwarding practice is regulated and address operational challenges faced by members.

“The election has come and gone and out of the five candidates that won, four came in from NAGAFF. It is only Kayode Farinto that came back as ANLCA representative for the Western zone.

“From my assessment, I don’t think there will be any difference compared to the last council because when you look at the people who came into the board again, you already know what their records are.

” From what I saw today, I don’t see any of them apart from Farinto and Tanko having that boldness to confront the government agencies, shipping companies and terminal operators.
” I see the other governing board members as bench warmers who are just going there without any meaningful inputs to make because we are all in this industry and we know ourselves,” he claimed.

On the allegation of vote-buying, Onyeme said, “A lot of people they bought came from Mushin, Ajegunle and Oshodi.

“If you look at their dressing, you will know that these are people who don’t operate in the port.
“It is very shameful with the kind of people we saw today(Wednesday) that if this is how the Council will continue, it is not worth it.

“We were here when they picked up machines and were making identity cards for them.

“So, there was massive buying of votes and registration and the Council did not give us an opportunity to check this.
“I was expecting the Council to say that for people to contest the election, those in the register must be people who have registered for the past two years.
” But we discovered today that people were registered in January and in March, they are coming to cast their votes. It is never done.”

According to the election results obtained by our reporter, the new governing board members are; Princess Chi Ezeh with 224 votes (NAGAFF), Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim 179 votes (NAGAFF), Ndubuisi Uzoegbo 147 votes (NAGAFF), Awogbemi Timothy 145 votes (NAGAFF), Chief Increase Uche 121 votes (NAGAFF/Independent), Chukwunonso Ejikeme 120 votes (NAGAFF), Tochukwu Ezisi 110 votes (NAGAFF).

Others are: Ekemezie Ifeanyi 72 votes (NAGAFF), Dr Farinto Collins Kayode 72 votes (ANLCA), Muftahu Ya’u 91 votes (NAGAFF), Chief Henry Njoku 63 votes (ANLCA), Bala Rabiu Lawan 54 votes (AREFFN), Isikaku Ifeanyi Goddy 52 votes (ANLCA), Kingsley O. Offor 44 votes (ANLCA) and Christopher C. Okafor 26 votes (ANLCA).

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Segun Musa
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Farinto urges Customs brokers to mobilise 5m votes for  presidential candidate who is freight forwarders- friendly

Kayode Farinto, Ag, Pre4sident, ANLCA
Eyewitness reporter
Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has enjoined freight forwarders to use their votes to bring in a government that has a passion for the welfare of freight forwarders in Nigeria.
The ANLCA chieftain made this call Monday in his May Day/ Sallah message to the freight forwarders confraternity.
Farinto, who bemoaned the harassment and intimidation the freight forwarders are being subjected to under the outgoing government in terms of multiple charges, levies and extortions, urged the oppressed customs brokers to use their PVCs to bring in a presidential candidate who will end the misery and sufferings of freight forwarders.
Consequently, he asked that the freight forwarders should mobilise at least five million votes in the maritime industry for a presidential candidate among the legion of contenders who will work for the welfare of customs brokers.
“The inconsistency in government policies is an eye-opener and we will enjoin our members to give the over five million votes in the industry to a presidential candidate that will be explicit on how to assist the Freight forwarding profession viz a viz implementation of people’s welfare policies their support and endorsements come 2023.
Farinto said the present government has shown a lack of empathy for the suffering and harassed freight forwarders who are even overburdened with all manner of charges in the face of an economic crunch.
“We won’t allow anyone to fool us like this outgoing government is doing.
“We are gradually losing our profession to foreign domination courtesy of lack of law that will protect indigenous practitioners”, he lamented.
While urging the freight forwarders to brace up for the reintroduction of the revised Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy this month, the ANLCA Chief warned them to be on their guard against people who may wish to compromise the process to the detriment of freight forwarders.
“Let me commence by saying that, it is obvious that the NCS will be implementing the VIN VALUATION this month, going by the news filtering around us in the industry and we need to monitor this because people will not want the process to be successful may introduce things outside our agreement into the procedures”
“I have released the agreed procedures on clearance of Standard Chassis vehicles that fall within VIN valuation and Non-Standard chassis vehicles,salvage, and accidented vehicles a few days ago.
 “We need to allow these new changes going by all we go through in the hands of customs various units to clear vehicles in the ports”
He recounted the horrific process of a clearance procedure, especially of vehicles, which he said is laced with extortions by the Customs
 “Even when you take your valuation, many alerts are put on our declarations and it takes the grace of God and difficult conditions to get them out of the ports.
“As if that is not enough, you need to know the numbers of calls we receive from our members delivering these vehicles within and outside the Lagos environment.
“Many customs units will say, your values are compromised, it must be jacked up and many of us are at their mercies pleading that DN should not be issued on already exited vehicles.
“This and many more things are what we believe The VIN valuation will eliminate.
“Many agents have been given forged and mutilated valuation papers by the third parties and are left to suffer the consequences of whatever happens.
“We do not need all this to get our vehicles released and we promise to challenge any command that may want to use the office of monitoring to extort money from our members when this new process commences.
The ANLCA Acting President also promised that the controversial issue of the National Automotive Council (NAC) 15 percent level will be pursued to its logical conclusion through the involvement of the national assembly and the instrumentality of the soon to be inaugurated Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“The issue of 15 percent NAC turn levy will be pursued vigorously immediately after the Sallah break
because we will engage the National Assembly on the need for them to know that, this government is not sensitive to the plight of the masses to have introduced a levy at this period when the economy is in comatose.
” And we will also ensure that the Federal Ministry of Finance is dragged before the people’s representatives on this matter.
“Since the CRFFN governing council may also be inaugurated this week, it will be our first issue to be raised at the plenary which needs urgent national attention.
“All our efforts to eliminate NAC turn levy is being done in collaboration with the motor dealers association”
Farinto however said that before these lofty objectives of the leadership of the freight forwarders could be achieved, the members of the confraternity must be united to achieve their common goal.
“We must however come together to achieve greatness. An injury to one should be an injury to all” he declared.
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