Attorney General Inaugurates CRFFN Tribunal to Prosecute Unregistered Freight Forwarders
…As Council Resolves 5-Year Old Crisis in ANLCA, Sets to Hold NECOM Elections
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami is expected to inaugurate the Tribunal for the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) next week Thursday, in order to Prosecute unregistered freight forwarders practicing at the nation’s ports and borders.
Chairman Governing Board of CRFFN, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar stated this on Wednesday at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) held at Eko Hotel in Lagos.
This is even as CRFFN has finally resolved the 5-years old leadership crisis that has bedeviled the ANLCA, and inaugurated an 8-man Board of Trustees (BOT) and appointed a 7-man Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) which would conduct fresh elections into the National and Chapter levels of the association.
Speaking at the meeting, Alhaji Tsanni drew the attention of the clearing agents to Section 27, Sub-section 1 of the CRFFN Act which states that anyone who is not a freight forwarder who practices at the port is committing an offense.
“It is very important for everybody to go and register with CRFFN.
It is only when you are a registered member that you will be able to sue and we would listen to you.
“By next week Thursday, our Tribunal would be inaugurated, the Attorney General has already given us his assurances, we are going to continue to Prosecute those operating without our registration, my advise for everyone of you is to try and register with the CRFFN” he said
While speaking on the newly inaugurated ANLCA BOT, Alhaji Tsanni said the essence of this is to have an understanding in the association for both warring factions to bring four people each, to constitute the board.
Recall that a faction of the crisis is headed by the Registered Board of Trustees, headed by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha while the other faction is headed by NECOM, led by Kayode Farinto and Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila.
The CRFFN Chairman lamented that the crisis in ANLCA has affected the Nigerian economy negatively in the last five years.
He assured that in the next two weeks, another enlarged meeting of all members of the association would be held, and the Chairman of the BOT would be appointed at the meeting. Other issues that would be addressed at the next meeting according to him, is the issues bothering on amendment of the constitution of ANLCA.
The CRFFN Chairman specifically appreciated one of the board members, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi who for the sake of peace, stepped down from the ANLCA Board.
Oyeniyi has now been inaugurated as a Patron of ANLCA.
“After our five hours of deliberation, we all agreed to have eight BOT members which they are; Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Chief Dennis Okafor, Mr Dayo Azeez, Sir Ernest Elochukwu, Kingsley Offor, Alhaji Shamsudeen, Prince Ozo Chukwura, and Eniola Igbaroola.
“We should appreciate these Elders because without them, these solutions would not have been achieved, especially Prince Taiye Oyeniyi which, without him agreeing to stepdown, all these peace wouldn’t have been achieved” he said
The CRFFN Chairman said he was going to brief the Director of DSS and the Minister of Transportation on the outcome of the meeting and it’s resolutions.
He sent an appeal to all ANLCA members, especially the majority of western zone members that were not in attendance, to accept the outcome of the meeting and allow peace reign.
“Please, I am appealing to them to please give the BOT their support in the agreement we have reached today. For the sake of God and Association please accept our arrangement of today” he begged
In their initial reaction, members of ANLCA at the meeting kicked against the resolution of the elders with CRFFN. They took turns to condemn the arrangements saying that it is not in line with ANLCA constitution.
However in his speech, Acting President of the association, Kayode Farinto took a lot of time and appealed to members for calm, saying that they are not been undermined by the CRFFN.
He said “Our industry is suffering, our members are suffering and we are not better off, this is a crisis that has lingered for five years, let’s just thank God that nobody died. You need to see Wale Cole’s head, the man that was butchered at Tin Can Island Port, know how much we contributed and how much spent.
“We have had fourteen court cases, thirteen out of the cases were won, yet there was no solution. The police has turned us into cash cows, both factions were spending money.
“What we are having today is a political solution of which I am not happy myself, but whether we like it or not, we must give in to our leaders because they have all contributed immensely to the growth of this association.
“We are not imposing this on you, but we believe that the industry must move forward. As I speak with you, the alerts on our jobs has increased from 7 to 10 alerts because we do not have the leadership that would tackle the challenges headlong.
“Customs has capitalized on this fact, they have polarized us, induced some people with money so that the crisis would not end.
The crisis in ANLCA is killing the industry and in the interest of peace we must move forward, in alternative dispute resolution, you leave some, you take some, you cannot have it all.
“The 8-man BOT is not final, it is to allow the association move forward and have it’s elections, after this, another AGM would be called to select the 9th members of the board” he said
Farinto said the ANLCA Board should be made to function in line with CAMA 2020 which does not have executive powers.
Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha who chaired the BOT faction of the association also took time to address members of the association, calling for calm and pleaded for both sides to forgive and forget past wrongdoings in the interest of peace.
Other ANLCA big wigs who took turns to address the members include; Prince Taiye Oyeniyi, Prince Ozo Chukwura.
Acting Registrar, Chief Executive Officer of CRFFN, Mrs Chinyere Uromta appreciated the CRFFN Chairman and the ANLCA leadership for corporation with the Council to resolve the five years old crisis.
“My heart is filled with gratitude and joy, especially the way the personalities in ANLCA demonstrated their grace and understanding, it shows that they have one purpose, and it shows that they wanted peace, this is a plus for CRFFN and Nigeria
“I want to express appreciation to my pragmatic Chairman of CRFFN board, for days now, he has not rested, he was so worried, but today the crisis is resolved and it would be sustained” she said
Mrs Uromta lamented that the ANLCA crisis affected the collection of the Practitioner Operating Fees (POF) by the CRFFN at the port.
“Since February 2023 when I took over, I noticed that the POF had been going down and I was worried, and I knew that part of it was this ANLCA crisis that has lasted so long. However with the resolution of the crisis, I am sure the inflow would be higher” she said