‘Amaechi politicized freight forwarding for 8 years’ – Ex-NAGAFF President
A former President of the Association of National Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke has accused the outgoing Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi for politicizing freight forwarding professionalism to serve narrow interests.
In an open letter to the minister, Nweke posit that the minister’s conduct since his appointment in 2015 to date did not only destroy the nation’s freight industry, economic development and professionalism, but impacted negatively on growth, as a result of Amaechi’s penchant to plant his political cronies on the decision making organ of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN.
Nweke who was reacting to widespread allegations that the transportation minister emasculated the CRFFN Governing Council by appropriating the powers to carry out a shoddy election of the Governing Council in which touts and hoodlums served as delegates, and by also electing to constitute the same Council through crook and barefaced executive rascality, without regards to the CRFNN Act; expressed hope that posterity will be judged Amaechi, squarely and unmercifully.
The letter written on May 5th 2022 with the theme “Re: Amaechi Imposes his Campaign Coordinator; Tsanni Abubakar As CRFFN Board Chairman – Blatant Disregards To Professional Essence And Further Politicization Of The Freight Profession; reads in part:
“Honorable Minister, in the past eight years, you have done your best at advancing the fortunes of our profession and the larger Maritime Industry, it is left for us as professionals to reevaluate your contributions toward the professional advancement of the freight forwarding profession in Nigeria within this 8 years of headship.
“As a proud leader in the Freight forwarding subsector, I owe the larger practitioners and future forwarders the responsibility to right the wrongs at all times for posterity sake. Freight Forwarding is a globally regulated and noble profession guided by professional codes.
“Politicizing its professional essence from its root with the pace and manner at which it is been compromised and politicized only points to a professional defeats and future misdirection. Our simple prayer for you is: may posterity be fair to you.”
In his characteristic outspokenness, Nweke faulted the appointment of the Coordinator of the Minister’s Presidential Campaign, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni and that of Chief Henry Njoku by Amaechi to continue as Chairman and Vice Chairman of CRFFN, respectively.
The front line freight forwarder and maritime resource person who accused Amaechi of total disregard for the CRFFN Act in the conduct of the Governing Council election, provided the constitutional framework violated by the minister; noting that Amaechi’s tenure has been harmful to the freight and port industry than anyone before his.
Quoting from relevant Sections of Act 16 2007, Nweke explained that the overreached his powers by misrepresenting a clause that gives him ‘power to oversee’ the affairs of the Council; through which Amaechi reportedly arrogated to himself much that was not only beyond his purview, but also arrogantly misapplied, all of which is believed to have compromised the lawful and ethical well-being of the council’s electoral process.
He further accused the minister of over reaching his powers by imposing Abubakar and Njoku on the Governing Council as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively.
“In Section 5 with the subtitle: ‘Control Of The Council By The Minister’, Subsection 1 states thus: ‘The Minister may give to the Council directions of a general character or relating generally to particular matters (but not to any individual person or case) with regard to the exercise by the Council of its functions and it shall be the duty of the Council to comply with directions.”
“Subsection 2 states thus: Prior to giving a direction under subsection (1) of this section, the Minister shall serve a copy of proposed directions on the Council and shall afford the Council the opportunity of making a representations to him with respect to the directions and the Minister may after giving due consideration to any representation made to him thereof, issue the direction without modifications or with such modification as appear to him to be appropriate having regard to the representations.”
“Honorable Minister, as reported in the above publication, your act, amounts to deliberate compromise and willful disregard to the extant provisions of Act 16 2007, section 2 (a)(b); and section 3(5).”
Providing more proof to support his position against the minister, the petitioner continued:
“Section 2, subsection 1 provided that ‘The Council shall consist of the following members from the Register of Freight Forwarders:
(a) One person who shall be elected by the Council from members of the Council as Chairman.
(b) One person who shall be elected by the Council from members of the Council as Vice-chairman.”
Nweke argued that it was wrong for the minister to have deployed the use of the phrase “maintaining status quo” as reported, noting that such flippant adoption suggests the continuation of the 3rd Governing Council, believed to have also been endorsed by the minister for the completion of the controversial four years tenure; which matter elicited litigations that are ongoing in the court.
“Honorable Minister, your open endorsement of a “status quo ante” cast a serious integrity and due process questions on the recent compromised election for 15 Freight Forwarders into the Governing Council under your purview.
“Permit me to reiterate that there is no section or subsections that expressly confers on you the right to unilaterally inaugurate the governing Council neither have I seen any subtitle or heading with the phrase “Inauguration of the elected and appointed governing council members by the Honorable Minister.” Section 5 of Act 16 2007, merely confer on you control of the Council (better still ministerial direction of the Council) which are specifically captured and clearly unambiguous.”
Further knocking the minister, Nweke said, “This is a professional regulatory governing council where professionals are elected to formulate regulations governing their professional practices, wherefore professionalism is the watch word. Therefore applying the same manner of inauguration observed for the Boards of the Nigeria Port Authority, Nigeria Shippers Council, etc. to me seems a misnomer and a blatant disregard to the professional essence.”
He also blasted fellow professional freight forwarders who have elected to keep silence in the face of the observed official recklessness in the running of the Council; arguing that practitioners owe the industry the duty to ensure that the right things are done to promote professionalism.
“However, the choice to and not to uphold the intents and provisions of Act 16 2007 is our right and also our power, except that our conscience and posterity has a way around us when make the wrong choices; and unavoidably so.”