By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the elections into the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) approaches, freight forwarders have raised an alarm over what they termed as deliberate plan to disenfranchise some members from voting or contesting.
The freight forwarders lamented their frustrations in logging into the CRFFN portal page for the purpose of updating their membership and financial status.
The CRFFN has since warned that only practitioners that are financially up to date will be eligible to vote or be voted for in the incoming Governing Council elections.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS exclusively, President of African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) Otunba Frank Ogunojemite feared that CRFFN is conniving with the proponents of the 188.8.131.52.1 sharing formula in order to edge-out some people from the elections.
Recall that the five registered associations under CRFFN namely; NAGAFF, National Council, NAFFAC, ARREFN and ANLCA had canvassed that the positions on the Governing Board should rather be shared among them, instead of conducting elections.
However, this sharing formula would not allow individuals or other associations from participating in the election.
This made the Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi to jettison the 184.108.40.206.1 idea and that ordered proper elections be conducted.
According to Otunba Ogunojemite, apart from the challenges freight forwarders are experiencing in operating the CRFFN portal, many of them are now being wrongly converted from staff freight forwarders to executive freight forwarders.
He alleged that 75 of his members were wrongly converted to executive freight forwarders membership with higher subscription payments.
Ogunojemite said that complaints have been laid to the CRFFN but no efforts has been made to correct the anomaly.
Speaking, he said “For a month now, the CRFFN system has been so porous, people could not update their subscriptions, we are suspecting that this could be in connivance with the 220.127.116.11.1 people (Five Registered Associations) in order to deliberately frustrate and disenfranchise members, I personally experienced this challenge”
“You cannot log into the system or update yourself, and we all know that election is coming, without you being updated on the system, you cannot vote or be voted for.
“The excuse they gave was that they are upgrading from portal one to portal two in order to make things effective. Meanwhile the upgrading of members is having problems while the POF collection is not affected, they are still collecting the POF, and people are paying.
“A lot of people were wrongly converted from staff freight forwarders to the executive freight forwarders, which means that they have to pay more in updating themselves”
Ogunojemite informed that a staff freight forwarder is meant to pay N10,000 while executive freight forwarders pay N20,000 every year as annual due to the CRFFN.
According to him, there was a message sent for people to update their subscriptions, but the message was not well circulated.
“It was not sent to my members. However, information we gathered was that they sent to other members of other associations.
“It is a deliberate action for people not to be able to pay the money, so as not to participate in the elections.
“We have written and complained to CRFFN, the names of people affected have been sent to them to revert it, but they have not done so since December.
“I want to believe this technical challenge has the hands of 18.104.22.168.1 people written all over it” he said
In a message sent 7th of February 2022 by one Mr R. Lawal for the CRFFN, a copy of which was sighted by DAILY TREND NEWS, reads
“Dear Practitioner. As a follow up to the directive of the Honourable Minister of Transportation that the CRFFN Governing Council election should hold in the next two (2) weeks from the date of the pronouncement, we, wish to urge you to log into the portal page to confirm the status of your registration as active/inactive or visit any of our offices.
“Please note that only practitioners that are financially up to date will be eligible to vote in the incoming Governing Council election”
DAILY TREND NEWS also got in touch with SW Global, a company acting as technical partners to the CRFFN on operating its portal.
SW Global are the technical partners with CRFFN, they are in charge of the membership registration and POS collection.
They are equally the technical partners to Nigerian Immigration Service.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Project Manager for SW Global with CRFFN, Mr Olaolu debunked insinuations that the portal was having downtime.
According to him “There is no issue with the portal, I can send you the URL for you to check it.
The freight forwarders have been informed on how to use this platform.
“Probably they do not know how to operate the system, and we have done a lot of training how how to operate the portal and processes.
“There is nothing wrong with the system, naturally there is no perfect system, whenever they lay a complain to CRFFN, we act on it and the issues are corrected” he said