The Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, on Monday declared that 99.9% of practicing freight forwarders in Nigeria lack training.
Speaking in Lagos during the inauguration of the Governing Board of the NAGAFF Academy, Aniebonam said, “99.9 percent of people in the freight forwarding business don’t have the knowledge. There is no formal education for you to be in the freight forwarding business except the effort that is being made by NAGAFF, so most of the freight forwarders today are informally involved in the business. They don’t have the opportunity that some of us have to acquire the knowledge.
“People keep complaining about operations of FOU (Customs Federal Operation Unit) but what does the law say on their operation? When you look at the relevant Customs law, they have authority to move freely within the territorial boundaries of Nigeria. That is what the law say. So at anytime you come across any agency of the government in the course of your duty, know that you are dealing with the law and so we need to have this knowledge.”
He said with the inauguration of the NAGAFF Academy Governing Board, the association will focus more on the training of its members, to enable them engage agencies of government when the need arises.
Also speaking, a university don, Prof. Iyiola Oni, has said that the failure of freight forwarders to meet up with the requisite knowledge of the profession through training and retraining is responsible for the problems and delays they face in cargo clearance and with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
According to him, “If they (freight forwarders) don’t have basic knowledge of the fundamental issues that would make professionals to work, to sustain the act, definitely, one will be running fowl of the law. That is why, most times, freight forwarders fall in as prey to the hands of Customs.
“But when they understand the requirements through training, definitely, they will be able to work within the confines of the law and their attitude will be attuned to doing the right things so that at the end of the day, everybody will have a win-win situation.”
While noting the important role freight forwarders play in the nation’s economy, Oni, who is also the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos and a consultant to the NAGAFF Academy, charged the freight forwarders to seek knowledge to help them build and adopt professional practice in the sector.
He also advocated the need for the operators to embrace basic IT knowledge in line with international best practices.
The Chairman of the NAGAFF Academy, Simeon Nwonu, said the academy is working towards being certified by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to enable it acquire the requisite status to issue certificate as a training institute.
Members of the board include Francis Omotosho – Registrar, Barr. Fred Akokhia – Legal Adviser, Increase Uche, Dipo Olayoku, Okey Okoro, Arthur Igwilo, Okey Nerus, Obehi Melody and Batholome Okeke.