Group Lauds FG over Directive on Apapa Gridlock

Apapa Gridlock

Eromosele Abiodun
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has applauded the federal government’s recent directive that trucks should vacate the access roads leading to the port.

Speaking at the 22nd Governing Council meeting in Lagos, the Vice Chairman of CRFFN, Henry Njoku, said if the government had acted long time ago, it would have gotten a lasting solution to the infamous gridlock which had over the years defiled solutions.

He said the gridlock had not only affected operations of their members but has also crippled other businesses within the port over the years.

Njoku, said the ultimatum was achievable stressing that, “It is better to take action than not to take at all. We are happy that the President has given the directive and I believe the order is achievable.

“The problem is that we have laws but people don’t obey it. But with this present order, if fully implemented, it will work. The order will ease not just our operations but other ports users and operators.

“There must be solution. We can’t continue like this. People are suffering going to Apapa. The truck operators must find a place to keep their trucks so that the order could work.
“For you to get a truck to carry your goods from Apapa we are paying N300, 000 to N400, 000 locally whereas we used to pay N50, 000 to N60, 000 in the past.

“The importers will transfer the cost back to individuals who are buying the goods. So it is important that we know that whatever we do we come back to us,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman of the Council, Abubakar Tsanni, faulted claims that the council has been inactive since the new governing council was inaugurated.

He said the council had been working towards addressing operational challenges faced by practitioners even as he hinted of plans to commence collection of Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) in no distance time.

Tsanni, also denied allegations of financial misappropriation levelled against the council by the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam.
According to him, “Collection of POF will start very soon and the council is doing its best to make sure we address both operational and internal issues within the associations.

“There is nothing like financial misappropriation in the council. I believe they (NAGAFF) have withdrawn their statement because they realise there is nothing like that. There members are here and I believe they are in the best position to say.”
He said with the gazetting of the POF by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), agents would now have the opportunity to get commission and percentage from their declaration.

Registrar of the Council, Samuel Nwakohu informed the board members of plans to mark his 100 days in office as means of engaging stakeholders and showcasing the achievements and potentials of the council.
He said his team was already reaching out to stakeholders including the media to reassure them of the renewed enthusiasm by his team to deliver on the mandate of the council to regulate and control activities of freight forwarding associations in the country.
In terms of capacity building, Nwakohu said it was expected to have all freight forwarders duly registered and seen to have acquired the FIATA Diploma in freight forwarding and Supply Chain Management by 2021 or stand the chance to be de- registered.