For industry watchers, cases of disagrements between persons within a particular feight forwarding association and persons in different organisations is legendary, with various parties mouthing accusations and counter accusations over the particular issue that is generating the particular ruckus that particular point in time.
This time around, a war of words is being waged between the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the Association of Registered of Freight Forwarders, Nigeria (AREFFN) over the issue of the accreditation of associations by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
It would recalled that CRFFN had initially granted full accreditation to the oldest and possibly largest grouping of freight forwarders, ANLCA, and gave the other associations, which included the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA),AREFFN temporary accreditation.
CRFFN, however, was compelled to grant NAGAFF full accreditation, following a period of bitter exchange of words between the officials of NAGAFF and CRFFN, a matter which had required the intervention of Office of the Inspector-General of Police for resolution.
NAGAFF was given full accreditation status, since the association claimed to have fulfilled the requirements stipulated for full accreditation, leaving AREFFN and NCMDLCA with their temporary accreditation.
Since the formal induction of all the registered freight forwarders and associations early this years by CRFFN, each of the association has supposedly carried on with it own status with the CRFFN.
But penultimate week, AREFFN seeminly rocked the boat when it accused the ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, of allegedly obstructing the AREFFN’s efforts at accreditation by the CRFFN.
A statement sent to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, which was signed by the National President of AREFFN, Dr Frank Ukor, suggested that the ANLCA President is staunchly against the accreditation of AREFFN by the CRFFN, allegedly implied by Shittu’s alleged outburst that “on his dead body will AREFFN be registered,” when the CRFFN Registration Committee recommended that AREFFN be fully accredited, having fulfilled the requirements for accreditation.
In another statement, the National Secretary of AREFFN, Mr. Vincent Ajanonwu, asserted that Shittu allegedly has a personal grudge against Ukor, which, according to Ajanonwu, the ANLCA chieftain is allegedly taking out on the AREFFN.
And reacting to the accusations, Shittu said that Ukor allegedly was blowing hot, because he (Shittu) is bent on thwarting his alleged plans to boycott standard procedures stipulated by the CRFFN Act for accreditation of associations.
He in turn accused Ukor of allegedly using ethnic considerations to gain accreditation for AREFFN, as, according to him, the association does not fulfill the requirement of national spread.
The ANLCA boss vowed to foil any move to register AREFFN if it is not subjected to the rigorous procedures of accreditation as experienced by ANLCA.
And joining issues with AREFFN and ANLCA, NAGAFF in a statement signed by the National Publicity Officer of the association, Mr Simeon Nwonu said: “NAGAFF and ANLCA are permanent members of CRFFN. That Dr Frank Ukor’s AREFFN and any other small group association does not agree with facts and realities are minority positions. That CRFFN did not register or accredit AREFFN and other small group elements does not erode the powers and liberty of them to exist under the provisions of the 1999 constitution. It is our considered opinion and advise that Dr Frank Ukoh AREFFN should merge with National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Nigeria Association of Air Freight Forwarding and Consolidators and the Freight Forwarders Agents Trade Group of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to form a sectoral association for CRFFN attention, or be wise to merge with NAGAFF as a freight association, whereas the others can merge with ANLCA or continue in their effort to spread to the six geopolitical regions of the country in line with set standards of CRFFN requirement.”
While we do not wish to join in the affray between the associations, we wish to state it unequivocally that issues of disagreements among Nigeria’s freight forwarding associations are becoming too many.
Each of these associations engages in endless efforts at outdoing each other, and we strongly feel this is not good for the system. Incessant rivalry between the freight forwarding associations may be one of the reasons why CRFFN has been unable to effectively carry out its mandate five years after its establishment.
This is indeed worrisome because the freight forwarding associations are submerging the Council in one controversy or the other, rendering it a veritable toothless bulldog. The earlier the various associations realise this, the better. In the face of these feuds among the associations, the CRFFN of their dreams may never be.
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