NAGAFF heads to Appeal Court to challenge CRFFN status

National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has decided to head to the Appeal Court to ascertain if the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) is an agency of the Federal Government.

Founder of NAGAFF and the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who gave the hint in Lagos at a roundtable organised by the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), expressed disappointment that a body his group founded as a private sector initiative was being hijacked by a cabal as an agency of government over pecuniary interests.

He, therefore, vowed that NAGAFF would pursue the case to the Supreme Court, adding that there was no justification for such going by the letters of the Act establishing the council.

He expressed displeasure, while reacting to the issue of setting an agenda for the new Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, who he said, should strive write his name in gold by correcting the errors of his predecessors concerning the CRFFN.

“For the new minister, I advise him to write his name in gold by correcting the mistakes of his predecessors like Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi by implementing provisions of the CRFFN Act.

“If the CRFFN is an agency of government, why should the Chairman of the Governing Board be chosen through election from the Register of Freight Forwarders? Which other government agency has the Managing Director or Director-General appointed through election?

“Are the heads of NIMASA, NPA, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and others appointed through elections like the CRFFN? Just because a set of people want to be collecting money from government, they said it is a government agency. Our lawyers are heading to the Appeal Court to continue the case. We went to the Federal High Court to challenge the hijack of the council We are ready to pursue the case up to the Supreme Court,” he said.

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It would be recalled that some years back NAGAFF had challenged the conversion of the council to an agency of government at the Federal High Court in Lagos and lost. Thereafter, the association raised an alarm sometime ago as moves were allegedly made by ministry officials to the National Assembly to amend the CRFFN Act in line with NAGAFF argument in court on why the council should not be an agency of government.

Meanwhile, Aniebonam reminded Sambo that by the Act establishing the council, the freight forwarding body was supposed to be akin to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), adding that the body should be independently funded as spelt out in the Act instead of through appropriation as presently being done and clarified that all freight forwarders, including former board chairmen, agreed that the council was a private initiative and should be managed as such.

“I urge the minister to thoroughly investigate the real status of the council and look at the Act, ask relevant questions and he will find out the truth and do the needful. Government needs money for a lot of things calling for attention, yet some people are taking money from the government to run an organisation which the law says should be funded independently.

“Imagine Amaechi, who hurriedly inaugurated the Council Board on the eve of his exit saying some people were saying the CRFFN should not belong to government, but to the private sector,” he said.

The council was established by the CRFFN Act 16 of 2007, with a mandate to, among other things, regulate and better control freight forwarding business, promote the highest standard of competence, practice and conduct among members of the profession.

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