A socio-cultural group; Oodua Descendant Freight Forwarders Association has said that Igbos have saturated the freight forwarding business in Nigeria, even as it announced that the association is embarking on series of seminars, workshops, training and retraining in order to expose more Yorubas to the business.
Founder of the association, Prince Segun Adefioye who is a Vice Chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) stated this during a press conference in Lagos on Monday.
Adefioye also lamented marginalisation of the Yorubas in key appointments in the maritime parastatals, especially Nigeria Customs Service.
Speaking, he said “You all know that the yorubas started clearing business in Nigeria, the business was started by a Yoruba indigene in 1954, but as time goes on, precisely in 1992-93 during Babangida regime and era of Tokunbo imports from abroad, the Igbos started coming into the business, along the line, they are now more into business than even the Yorubas and other tribes”
“The Igbos encourage their brothers to come forward and practice clearing and forwarding business. As it is now, to be sincere, they are more than the Yorubas in the business”
He however said the Oodua Descendant Freight Forwarders Association has maintained a cordial relationship with the various Igbo freight forwarders, especially their socio-cultural group; Igbo maritime forum.
Adefioye said that his association has sponsored some of his members to the NAGAFF Freight Forwarders Academy in order to aquire more knowledge in freight forwarding business.
“Right now, we are also trying to encourage more of our people into the business and this is the essence of us forming the Oodua Descendant Freight Forwarders Association. We are trying to encourage our people, enlighten them, and to train and retrain them”
“This job is a professional job that requires more attention and we should not allow others to hijack the business from us”
He said members of the group cuts across the six registered associations by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) including the African Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON)
Speaking further, he said “I am one hundred in support of Oodua Republic, we are being marginalised so much, especially in terms of national appointments, we are the ones controlling the sea in southwest, but look at the ports we have, how many of the Area Controllers are Yorubas? Igbos and Hausa?
This cuts across all other agencies including the NDLEA”
“If there is a true restructuring, then things can go well, but if we continue the way things are, it is not comfortable”
“We have organised seminars, workshops and trainings for our members since we started Oodua Descendant Freight Forwarders Association in order to encourage our members”
“We have sponsored some people to NAGAFF Academy to go and aquire more knowledge in freight forwarding, and we are still going to continue so that the Yorubas would be relevant in the industry”
Speaking on challenges encountered at the port, he lamented the duplication of Customs checkpoints and various interventions and alerts.
Adefioye said that whenever containers are arrested for any infractions, the Customs officer who released the container is allowed to walk free without prosecution.