By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has directed that a fresh election be conducted into the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) following the controversies that has trailed the collection of Practitioners Operations Fee (POF) which the Council began in March 1st 2021.
Sources within the embattled Council told DAILY TREND NEWS that the attention of the Amaechi was drawn to the various agitations that greeted the POF collection, even as some freight forwarding groups including frontline freight forwarder, Lucky Amiwero, President of National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and the African Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) have already dragged the CRFFN to court.
The Minister had earlier directed all terminal operators at the port to corporate with CRFFN in ensuring that all freigjt forwarders present receipt of POF payments before cargoes are released.
Our correspondent gathered exclusively that the Minister has directed the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Magdalene Ajani to liaise with the CRFFN management to conduct an election immediately so as to enable the council collect the POF without any oppositions.
To this end, an Electoral Committee has been constituted towards the election, and the Council is now waiting for funds to prosecute the election.
Our correspondent gathered that the Council would come up with a date and a schedule for the upcoming elections, latest by Monday 22nd of March 2021.
Close sources also confirmed to our correspondent that the Chairman of CRFFN, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar has been in Lagos since Monday trying to consult with other members of the board.
However, when our correspondent contacted the Registrar of the CRFFN, Barr Samuel Nwakohu, he said he was not aware of such arrangements for elections.
But reliable sources told our correspondent that the decision of Amaechi followed “Complaints from freight forwarding stakeholders that it is fraudulent to effect the POF collection without the freight forwarders in the Governing Council”
The stakeholders also argued that “Allowing the Politicians and Non-Professionals to supervise a professional fee collection is alien to professional norm”
With the POF collection at port, freight forwarders are expected to pay N2,000 on every 40 foot container leaving the port, and N1,000 for 20foot containers. The money runs into billions of Naira yearly.
Recall that the board members of the CRFFN have been seeking amendment of the Council’s Act to allow them extend their tenure in office to four years.
A court case was however instituted by a group of freight forwarders against the extension of tenure of the CRFFN Governing board members at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos.
It was learnt that the court had last year directed the CRFFN Board members to vacate since their two years tenure has expired.
The case was instituted by a prominent member of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Fwdr Emeka Nwosu and few others. For daring to drag the CRFFN to court, NAGAFF had last year expelled Nwosu.
The bill for the CRFFN Act amendment is sponsored at House of Representatives by Hon. Patrick Asadu representing Nsuka/Igboeze South Federal Constituency of Enugu State and co-sponsored by Hon. Garba Datti, representative of Sabon Gari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.