By DAPO OLAWUNI
All appears not to be well with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) as the Council is currently embroiled in alleged internal crisis, even as the Council members yesterday boycotted a meeting with Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and some National Assembly members.
Inside sources confirmed to DAILY TREND NEWS that the Council members were having tough time dealing with the Registrar of the Council, Barr Samuel Nwakohu who was recently employed after Sir Mike Jukwe retired.
A source alleged that the Registrar was acting at variance with instructions from the board. He was also allegedly doing the bidding of the transport minister who was alleged to have brought him into the Council.
To further confirm the extent of the crisis, CRFFN yesterday hosted a conference and workshop in Ikeja Lagos which had the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi in attendance alongside Chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Sen Danjuma Goje, Housd Committee on Ports and Harbours, Garba Datti and other national assembly members, but surprisingly, Chairman of the CRFFN, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar and his members were not in attendance.
Our source hinted that there was a meeting before meeting, where the board members decided to boycott the event in order to register their grievances with Amaechi
Recall that Tsanni Abubakar was personally nominated for the position of the CRFFN chairmanship by President Muhammadu Buhari, a development that did not go down well with Rotimi Amaechi. The Minister had subsequently delayed inauguration of the board for several months until he received direct order from the Presidency to do so.
The Minister since then has not hidden his reservations towards to CRFFN Chairman who is reported to be close to President Buhari.
The CRFFN governing board members were however at the International Press Centre in Apapa where they briefed the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) on some milestones in the Council.
When he was asked about the frosty relationship between the Minister and the Registrar of the Council, Abubakar denied such reports, saying that the board members did not boycott the meeting with Amaechi, but that the meeting was purely managerial.
Speaking, he said “We are having a very good relationship with the minister and the ministry, even yesterday we were together with the minister, they always give us support in whatever we are doing, both the minister and the state minister, we are all working together.Also with the registrar, we are working with understanding and without any problems”
“The meeting going on there is purely managerial, it is not true that we boycotted it, they are training some of the members”
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the CRFFN board members were not getting enough money to throw around as they envisaged. The Minister was said to have also delayed collection of the Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) a major source of revenue for the council.
Abubakar and his Vice Chairman of the board, Chief Henry Njokwu confirmed to reporters that the Council was broke and that the retreat it embarked upon in Dubai few months ago was sponsored by a private company.
Speaking, the CRFFN Chairman said “We are still having financial problems and up till now we cannot do anything by ourselves, the budget we have is only the budget for capital projects which, this is the only money we have now from the federal government”
“Apart from these, there is no single money from anywhere, until when we have started generating our revenue, that is when we can start getting something”
Abubakar said the Council has concluded plans to implement an integration with other government agencies under the transport ministry including Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Nigerian Shippers Council and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)
He said “POF is just one source of income, we have registration fees and annual subscription fees, but the major money are still there somewhere, we are working now to ensure that when we link up with various agencies like NIMASA, NPA, Shippers Council, these are where the monies are going to come”
“The only money we are getting for now is from registration fees, while the major funds are in other agencies.By integration, it means that we are going to be on the same platform with them, even on the wet cargo, this is where the money is”
“We are going to put some of these things in our Act, the Act has stayed for so long and it needs to be changed, including domestication of freight forwarding practice”