By Innocent OROK
For the past six years the crises ridden Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria ( CRFFN) has been without a Governing Council. The last Council ended in 2012, which was chaired by Alhaji Tajudeen Olarenwaju.
Since then, the CRFFN has been in crises incurring so many legal suits with it.
At the inception of the President Mohammedu Buhari’s regime in 2015 and subsequent appointment of Mr Rotimi Amaechi as Minister of Transportation under whose ministry the CRFFN falls under, there were high expectations that the Council will resolve and settle all contending issues and settle down for the tasks of regulating the highly fractionalized freight forwarding industry in Nigeria.
But that was not to be as more deeper crises erupted in the CRFFN especially during the proposed collection and sharing formula for the Professional Operating Fees (POF) approved by the minister last year. Due to the crises in the sharing formula among the associations.
The Minister of transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi also added to the crises by not properly understanding the issues at the Council which has crumbled it since inception in 2007, before giving orders that never works.
Thus, every efforts made by the Registrar and the ministry of transportation to move the Council forward were rebuffed by practitioners due to non existence of a governing council, as such the crises continues.
Aside from non existence of a governing council for the CRFFN, there were allegations of financial misappropriation by the registrar, Mike Jukwe in collaboration with the ministry of transportation officials.
It is on record that since 2012 when the last board left the CRFFN, the Council have been collecting yearly budgetary allocations from the federal government and not duly accounted for.
For instance in 2016, the Council got N800m for provision of security gadgets in Nigerian borders, its also budgeted N4.8b for office building , which according to our findings N2.8b have been released to the Council without a commiserate usage to that effect.
We also gathered that the Council collected money for 50 hilux jeeps for office and patrol use , but the contractor in order to cut corners imported the jeeps through Benin Republic and some were seized my the Nigeria Customs Service. The vehicles are still in the Customs custody .
The contract racketeering at the CRFFN in the past six years without a governing council has led to the House of Representative questioning repeated budgetary allocations on same subject heads year in , year out by the Mike Jukwe led CRFFN
THE WOBBLING ELECTION
In April this year, the Registrar of the Council, Mike Jukwe issued a timetable for elections into the governing council of the CRFFN after six years of non existence of any board as Jukwe was running a one man show in collaboration with the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation and other top government officials.
The timetable also follows other guidelines for the elections.
As soon as the CRFFN board elections timetable hit the airwaves, Freight Forwarders and Clearing Agents across association lines started lobbying.
Leading the pack of serious politicking for majority seats at the Council was , the founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam. In fact Dr Aniebonam and NAGAFF were on top of their game in both dishing out of information and campaigning for total take over of the Council 15 seats.
The NAGAFF founder told this reporter in an interview that his association has budgeted over N100m for the council election and that this time around NAGAFF is ready to take over the Council.
But looking at the CRFFN style of election of selecting 15 Contestants and declaring the 15 Winners without them contesting with anybody has been described as a sham and mockery of democratic process which will not stand the test of time.
The election saw both a vote and 100 votes contestants being declared winners.
During the build up to the election of which every Contestant paid N500, O00 for form, three Candidates were disqualified because they were independent candidates not belonging to any association, this spark off another round of controversy on the fraud and undemocratic nature of the election.
Many stakeholders have seen the election as a selection and that CRFFN just want to justify the huge funds spent to conduct the Sham called election.
A former president of ANLCA, who don’t want his name mention said ” Look at what is happening in CRFFN, is that election, anything hang on a faulty foundation can not stand the test of time, mark my words’
It seems the CRFFN election has waken up another rounds of petitions, wrangling and possibly court actions will follow.
Unconfirmed reports said that due to several petitions and grumbling after the Council elections, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi may postponed the inauguration of the Council board, schedule for tomorrow.
With this faulty Council election, it seems the Jukwe led CRFFN has lost integrity and if nothing is done about it, the CRFFN which is surviving on government allocations contrary to its act may finally die.