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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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Freight Monitor

Customs offers hands of fellowship to new ANLCA leadership , as Adeniyi congratulates Nwokeoji on his election

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, has expressed the willingness of the Service to collaborate with the new leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) under the leadership of Emenike Nwokeoji, in a bid to advance the customs brokerage sector and promote the interests of customs agents throughout Nigeria.
In his congratulatory message to the new ANLCA president, Adeniyi said his election was a reflection of the confidence the members of the association have in him.
While lauding the noble role that members of the Customs Consultative Council played in brokering peace in the war-torn association which eventually led to the conduct of a peaceful election, the customs boss said he was eagerly waiting for a productive partnership with the association.
Adeniyi however expressed confidence that Mr. Nwokeoji will provide solid and visionary leadership to ANLCA while working closely with the Nigeria Customs Service to enhance the collaboration between the two organizations.
“On behalf of the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi congratulates Mr Emenike Nwokeoji on his election as the National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)”
After five years of bickering and bitter rivalry that polarised the oldest freight forwarding group in Nigeria into factions, including several botched attempts to broker a truce, the much elusive peace eventually located the troubled association on September 7th, 2023, when an election, which outcome was accepted by all the factions, was held and Nwokeoji emerged as the president of the unified ANLCA.
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Freight Monitor

Freight Forwarders threaten to shut down ports over alarming rate of extortions by maritime police.

Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun
The Eyewitness Reporter
The freight forwarders plying their trade at the Lagos ports are currently in a restive mood over what they claimed was the barefaced extortions, harassment, and intimidation by the maritime police.
The aggrieved customs brokers, in their petition to the new Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, have therefore threatened to withdraw their services if the excesses of these police officers are not checked.
In a four-page protest letter signed by Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the 100 percent Compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF),  addressed to the IGP and dated August 22, 2023, the irate customs brokers said the activities of these police officers have considerably impeded facilitation of trade.
In the petition, Tanko Ibrahim, who is also an elected member of the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), claimed these officers, in connivance with the shipping companies, indiscriminately stop and detain exited containers from the ports with the purpose of extorting money from the owners.
Tanko, who said these extortionist activities of the police were curtailed under the past administration of police IG due to the outcry of the oppressed freight forwarders, lamented that the menace has now resurgent with new vigour, as the police now carry out their extortions in the open.
“Since the advent of the new administration, the officers and men of the Maritime Police have not only resumed these activities but also even more daring.
“They do not only block the release of containers from shipping companies, but they also arrest and detain containers on the roads, and even allegedly go into fisticuffs with the officers of the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service”
The petitioners however fingered one of the officers whom they said was daring and boastful of his nefarious activities.
“To compound and confound the matter, one of their officers, named Superintendent Kenneth  Uwakool, who has been at Kam Salem House for more than three years, when the rapprochement was reached during the last administration, is the unrepentant bagman, who openly boasts that he is a millionaire.
“He sits atop proceedings in the extortion business’ the petitioners declared.
In the petition, each copy of which was sent to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members of the National Assembly, and all the security agencies, Tanko Ibrahim, who ventilated the foul mood of the angry freight forwarders, claimed that the marauding police officers collect as high as N2m to N3m from their victims on each container before they let them go.
The petitioners wondered where were these officers when the Customs, in collaboration with other sister agencies, arrest containers with drugs, arms, and ammunition, accusing them of looking the other way while these illicit goods are being ferried away understand their noses.
He however appealed for prompt intervention of the new IGP in order to calm the frayed nerves of the harassed freight forwarders to starve off an impending showdown with the extortionist police officers.
“We, therefore, respectfully urge you, sir, to call the Maritime Police to order and save the ports from an imminent restiveness that may paralyze business activities and further cause economic loss to government revenue.
“We may have no option than to go on protest which may result in a possible shutdown of the seaports” the aggrieved freight forwarders threatened.
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Freight Monitor

Abuja peace accord: Customs Consultative Council to supervise ANLCA elections in August.

— As ASECO, BOT members without valid operating customs licenses to be removed
The eyewitness Reporter
In yet another effort to realign the recalcitrant two factions of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) that have held the association hostage in a protracted ego war, the Customs Consultative Council(CCC) has brokered what seemed like a truce between the two warring parties.
The one brokered by the CRFFN some months ago has collapsed.
At a peace meeting convened by the CCC in Abuja, Wednesday 19th July 2023, members of the peace council, made up of Customs representatives, retired Customs officers,and past National Presidents of ANLCA, the council made far-reaching decisions that it hoped would restore lasting peace to the troubled association.
Part of the resolutions made includes the vacation of office by Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of ANLCA and other NECOM members within the next two weeks of the meeting while the BOT takes over the running of the association till the election holds before the end of August.
The meeting also adopted the 2013 Constitution of ANLCA while jettisoning the other two controversial constitutions of the two warring parties.
The adopted constitution was the one midwifed by the former ANLCA president, Prince Olayiwola Shittu.
It was also agreed that members of ASECO and BOT whose practicing licenses are suspect or could not be verified by the Nigeria Customs Service would be dropped from their positions.
The BOT and ASECO are to conduct and supervise the election not later than the end of August while the CCC will be an observer.
 The structure fashioned out by the CRFFN during its own peace accord meeting would be adopted which created a unified BOT that comprises equal numbers of both warring factions but with the caveat that the BOT election be held immediately after the NECOM election.
The peace council advised that character/ Integrity and Capacity should be the criteria for choosing leaders for the elective positions in ANLCA.
The council also warned aspirants to conduct themselves with a high sense of integrity and maturity and educate their followers and supporters.
It also mandated that the BOT chairman and the vice chairman to issue a joint press release to enlighten members on the accord reached.
 The CCC offered to host a post-Election Dinner in Lagos.

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