By Godwin Oritse
THE  Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, has compiled the first register of freight forwarders in Nigeria with the registration of 2,042 freight forwarders, 650 companies and four associations to carry on the business of freight forwarding.

CRFFN Governing Council Chairman, Tony Iju Nwabunike, stated that it would be illegal for any unregistered individual, company or association to engage in the freight forwarding business.

Speaking shortly after the 8th meeting of CRFFN governing council, Nwabunike stated that the registered associations include the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, AREFFN, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF and the National Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators, NAFFAC.

However, the Council excluded one of the foremost groups in the freight forwarding industry, the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, for taking it to court.

Nwabunike said though NCMDLCA applied for registration and indeed met all the registration criteria, the governing council decided to put its application in abeyance because of a pending court case involving two factions that have been contending for its leadership.

The name of NCMDLCA’s President, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, was also conspicously missing from the register. “He didn’t apply for registration”, was the simple explanation provided by the CRFFN’s Registrar, Sir Mike Jukwe.

Over 5,000 persons applied for registration under the individual members’ category out of which only 2,042 made the provisional register while over 1,000 companies applied for corporate membership out of which 650 were offered provisional registration while NCMDLCA was the only association that failed to scale the registration hurdle out of the five that applied.

Nwabunike disclosed that the provisional register will be sent to the national assembly for gazetting after which it will be published.

He said that all registered members are now entitled to use the ‘Rff’ title after their names. Nwabunike also disclosed that a new set of guidelines for freight forwarding operations have been approved by the governing council.

Also approved, according to the CRFFN Chairman, are data processing centres to be sited in all major seaports, cargo airports and land border posts, a freight forwarders cooperative society, the freight forwarders microfinance bank, freight forwarders group life assurance policy and the freight forwarders group pension scheme.

He also said that if approved by the minister of transport, CRFFN will soon establish the freight forwarders consultative council (FFCF) and the freight forwarders elders advisory committee while the induction of registered freight forwarders and accredited associations will hold later this year.

Meanwhile some founding members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have warned that an intractable problem may be created should the current leadership of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) change after two years without the election of 15 outstanding members of the Governing Council.

In a message sent to the Executive Secretary and Chief Officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Captain Adamu Biu, the association’s Legal Adviser, Barrister Fred Akokhia said that at the moment, a register of members has since been compiled and kept by the leadership of CRFFN without the body taking the necessary step of filling the remaining vacancies on the governing council as required by law.

“We have a lot of respect for you. Nigerian Shippers Council has the mandate of the Honourable Minister of Transport to midwife our Council.
We believe that you will lead us and midwife us well.

The greater number of the legitimate stakeholders are worried. For these guys to keep running our Council without following the council act properly may be in breach of the rule of law and the Council’s enabling act.

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