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CRFFN: ‘HMOT playing to the gallery’, Opara Explodes


Chidi Anthony Opara

Unapologetic, erudite and outspoken freight forwarder, Chidi Anthony Opara, RFF, FIIM, has accused the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi of playing to the gallery by deliberately swallowing hook, line and sinker, all manners of industry reports taking to him for action, in order to evade accountability and responsibility.

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Opara described as the height of absurdity, Amaechi’s recent gaffe that the nation’s freight forwarding is changing for the better; saying that nothing can be farther from the truth. The Port Harcourt based practitioner reasoned that the Minister is not as dumb as he wants people to believe, that his position on the Council for the Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) are calculated political deceits aimed at promoting mediocrity and putting incompetent actors in critical positions of responsibilities.

Opara’s reaction came on the heels of the minister’s fanciful description of the freight forwarders graduation ceremony for some four hundred graduands that participated in CRFFN’s less than one month crash program.

The transportation ministry has also reportedly endorsed plans by the CRFFN to play up the so-called certificate as instrument of qualification to practice freight forwarding. Despite the loud and strident condemnation, Amaechi  has kept mum and refrained from making a statement.

According to Opara, much of the minister’s silent act are premeditated and pretences, which he said would then allow the minister to conveniently excuse himself at the end of the day by pleading ignorance; but nonetheless, after successfully planting his cronies in critical positions and doing damage to the industry.

Opara said that the minister’s  expression of satisfaction with the certification of some freight forwarders recently under a crash programme by the University of Lagos was not only a wrong assessment, he thinks that the minister was rather crafty and deceitful in view of the rejection of informed and correct reports provided the minister by genuine industry practitioners.

In a widely publicized commentary in social media platforms,  Opara averred that Amaechi’s intentions appears to be in support of questionable romance with perceived black legs in the industry which will help them take over critical positions they most like would mismanage and run aground;  all as part of a political plot to be in control of a cash cow agency.

A competent and certified information manager, Opara said some of the practitioners the minister is herding around CRFFN are illiterate and incapable of critical thinking essential to grow the freight forwarding industry.

Contrary to the minister’s posturing, Opara said that there is no evidence that the freight forwarding industry in Nigeria is changing for the best.  To nail home his point, he asked, “Does the Minister know that a stark illiterate was one of the graduands he was addressing?

Opara wrote, “The statement from the Minister is a testament to how government works in this part of the world, where government officials put mostly incompetent loyalists in strategic positions, sit back in their cozy offices and make important decisions with skewed data provided to them by these loyalists.

“This scenario also played out when the CRFFN management gave the Minister wrong information, resulting in him(Minister) convincing the Executive Council Of The Federation to approve the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees(POF) on cargoes leaving the ports.”

Opara argued that cargo belong to importers who have nothing direct to do with CRFFN, noting that act of policy narrow compartment is responsible for the controversial implementation of the POF, which he said is still riddled with legal brick back.

“If the Minister had bothered to do fact finding from active practitioners(not those who hang around his office), he would have found out that about 80% of freight forwarding practitioners in Nigeria are not registered.

“That 90% of those registered does not pay their annual dues because as they rightly say, CRFFN contributes nothing to help them practice. He would have noticed that the only and the last identification card issued by CRFFN expired in 2013.

“He would have noticed that the CRFFN have recorded zero percentage in responses to the problems facing registered Freight Forwarders, etc.”

A painstaking analysts, Opara continued: “The CRFFN management is not known to have managed its statutory financial allocations well, the Registrar was recently investigated for financial improprieties, the report of the investigation was forwarded to the Minister, to date, the Minister have not taken definite action on the report, he is rather threatening to dissolve the entire CRFFN management, whose members are pushing for the implementation of the report.”

Then he hit the nail on the anvil rather loudly and asked, “is that moving forward for the best?”

Opara had more posers for the HMOT:

“Does the Minister know that the crash program course for which the so called graduation was held is supposed to be part of a continuous professional development program and not a “minimum entry qualification”?

“Does the Minister know that the less than one month crash program costs nearly half a million naira? Does the Minister know that the crash program does not run in all the locations where freight forwarders practice?”

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