The founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has finally exited from the association’s administration after 20 years of active leadership.
Aniebonam, who personally announced this during the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), said he was fulfilled now that six of his members were in the Governing Board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
He expressed confidence in the ability and capability of current NAGAFF leadership to lead the association to greater heights.
He said: “I can’t see anybody in any of the associations that can match NAGAFF in terms of intellectuality, numerical strength, finance and what have you. NAGAFF is in curding level. The reversal of my exit point previously was getting NAGAFF into the CRFFN Board. This is why I said I am fulfilled and this is why I can now go.”
Aniebonam, however, stressed the need for Council members to work together in the interest of the Association and freight forwarding in Nigeria, saying they had liberation role to play as members of the Council, adding that posterity would judge them if they failed to make positive impact there.
“Now that they are in the Council, it is not about who is Chairing the Council or is heading the Committee, but in seeing to the working of the Council. Six of them are well capable and prepared to add value to the profession and growth of the Maritime sector,” he added.
The maritime guru and a former Customs officer, urged freight forwarders to be compliant as well as make honest declarations to Customs, adding that Section 46, 47, 161, 163 had it that untrue declaration attracts five years imprisonment if found guilty, while enjoining them to read Customs Law in other to appreciate Customs the more.
“Making honest and genuine declarations to Customs in order to raise our voice is what NAGAFF is preaching.
“We must go professionalism. We are not beggars. Who told you that we must give bribe before our containers can be released? And this is what NAGAFF is preaching. We need to harmonise Section 19 of the CRFFN Act and Section 153 -156 of the Customs and Exercise Management Act. CRFFN is the best thing that had happened to the freight forwarding profession.
“CRFFN has a tribunal and problems in the ports can be treated by the tribunal with a sitting judge. So, all we need to do is with the CRFFN, the Council members. Whoever becomes the Chairman of the Enforcement Unit should enter into collaboration with the Inspector General of Police.
“The issue of frivolous charges by shipping companies and terminal operators who just decide on what freight forwarders would pay against what the Council approved, should be picked up. The Enforcement Unit of the CRFFN should go ahead and pick up the head of that shipping company,” Aniebonam concluded.
Meanwhile, the Board of Trustee Chairman of NAGAFF, Chief Chidiebere Enyelema, has described Aniebonam as the most controversial man in the maritime industry because of what he believed and stood for.
He mentioned some of Aniebonam’s key achievements as taking NAGAFF and freight forwarding profession to FIATA; fighting for 48 hours clearance of cargos at the port and being responsible for having a regulatory body for freight forwarders in the industry and many others.
Also, former NAGAFF President, Dr. Eugene Nweke commended Aniebonam for sustaining the liberation struggle, even as he harped on the need for team work on the part of the members as the world was watching if they would conduct themselves in a more civilised manner now that the founder would be leaving office.
Godfrey Nwosu, Secretary, NAGAFF Tin Can Island chapter, described Aniebonam as a legend, who led by example, a tested and trusted leader, a builder, tutor, disciplinarian, a believer in academic empowerment and, above all, an achiever who re-engineered the course of repositioning NAGAFF and freight forwarding in Nigeria.
On his part, the governorship candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in Bauchi State, Major Agboyi, commended Aniebonam’s remarkable success story in establishing two powerful associations, NAGAFF and NNPP.
He called for prayers and support for him, as he stood for the emancipation of Nigeria and had being identified with success story, while expressing hope that NNPP, which Aniebonam is the chairman, would emerge victorious at the 2019 gubernatorial polls of Bauchi State.