…Says Defaulters would be Jailed 10-Years
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) is now set to unleash its 45-member enforcement team on freight forwarders at the ports to collect the controversial Practitioners Operating Fee (POF)
DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that the POF collectors apart from stationing inside the port, would also be waiting at 500 meters outside the port gates with a team of mobile police officers to intercept any consignment that has failed to pay the money before leaving the port.
Speaking with our correspondent in Lagos yesterday, a member of the governing board of CRFFN, Chief Austen Kelly dropped the indication, saying that CRFFN can no longer fold its hands, and that the POF fee must be collected by all means.
He said any freight forwarder who fails to pay the POF could be jailed for ten years.
According to him, the Council has decided to collect the POF money using some of the enforcement and compliance teams recently established by the freight forwarding associations.
He explained that twenty five members of the enforcement of CRFFN would be removed, they would now be completed with another twenty members that would be drawn from across the five registered associations.
“We are going to withdraw these people in CRFFN enforcement team, we have up to forty five of them currently, we are going to withdraw like 25 of them.
Myself and Govi (Alhaji Moshood Tijani) we are going to ensure things move
We would fight anybody that refuses to pay the POF and could put you in jail for ten years”
“When we remove 25 people from the enforcement team, we would now pick persons each from the five associations to be merged into the enforcement team”
“We would be working with mobile police and wait you at 500 meters outside the port, if we see that you have not paid POF, you would have to pay it before your cargo can leave the port”
“We are CRFFN and we decide, the government has given us an approval to collect our money, so any agent should not expect any government to come to the port to enforce POF, we are the government” he said
Kelly explained further that the enforcement team would come to the field with mobile police officers and stay 500 meters out of the port to complement the team of CRFFN collectors already deployed inside the port.
According to him, some of the enforcement team has been given their uniforms and laptops with which they would start collecting the money at the port.
DAILY TREND NEWS also confirmed authoritatively that the CRFFN has given equipments to all the five associations under them to enable them create a “Situation Room” in order to interface on the POF collection
The items given includes; desktop, printers, photocopying machines and laptops.
“All these is for us to put in the situation room where we are going to be updating ourselves on what goes on at the port with the CRFFN. We are going to create a situation room where all the happenings at the port are reported and linked together, whatever one association is doing is what others would be doing” one of the association executives stated.
When he was asked about the tenure of the CRFFN Governing Board, Chief Kelly jokingly replied that the “COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our tenure at CRFFN, we have been at home and not working, so I still have more time”