Aniebonam commends transport minister over CRFFN directive

Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has expressed appreciation to the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, for “deeming it fit now to give direction to the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).”

During an exclusive chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Thursday, Aniebonam said that it was prudent of the minister to saddle the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) with the responsibility of reviving CRFFN from its comatose state.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Hassan Bello, had on Wednesday disclosed plans by the transport minister to officially issue a directive to the Shippers’ Council to reform the freight forwarders’ regulatory body.

“Shippers’ Council brought the law for the reforms of freight forwarders and the whole idea is that we have to restore the regulatory authority of CRFFN. We have to wield it from individual incursions of people with certain egos and we have to also enforce because enforcement is part of institutionalization. Any institution that cannot enforce its rules then decadence has set in and it will not achieve its purpose.

“Luckily recently the Minister of Transport has become aware of that and he is on the verge of giving general directives for incisive reform of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders and Nigerian Shippers’ Council is being called again to look at these things scientifically, dispassionately and see what we can do to restore the glory of freight forwarding practice in Nigeria,” Bello had said.

Aniebonam said that the transport minister could not have made a better choice than the Shippers’ Council in salvaging CRFFN even as he expressed confidence in Bello’s ability to carry out the mandate.

He said: “You recall that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has the mandate to midwife the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding and I think what is going on very well now, aside from the directive of the Minster of Transport, is the presence of Hassan Bello. You recall that he was the legal adviser of that organization and is very conversant with the Council Act. As a matter of fact he was privy to the draft stage of that legislative instrument and so he knows very well the intendment of that Act, what it is expected to achieve.”

The NAGAFF Founder urged Bello to call for the input of critical stakeholders if he wants to succeed in proffering the intendment of the Council Act noting that CRFFN is an “inclusive Council.”

“All the strategic membership of the Council in terms of associations, individuals and corporate members, these are the people that form the Council Register. What you need to do is to use the framework of these registered associations and make sure you have an inclusive Council,” he further stated.

Aniebonam also said that although the supervisory role of the transport minister over CRFFN is not in doubt, the Council is not a government parastatal.

“Definitely government has control over virtually everything in the country and therefore there is need for supervision hence we are domiciled in the transport ministry but you recall those who started this Council, the first inaugurated Council, started using complimentary cards bearing the logo of the federal government, the coat of arms, even their vehicles are carrying federal government numbers to the extent that fraudulently again they went to the federation account to draw money! And these things are in breach of the Council Act. It doesn’t seek to do what the Council is supposed to do.

“We overheard some statements that the Registrar of the Council is a public servant, I mean it makes nonsense of the Council! Jukwe is not a public servant, he is an employee of the Council and of course the Council determines his tenure,” Aniebonam stated.