NAGAFF rules out any rift among top hierarchy …Blames suspended strike on security reports
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders has discountenanced speculations that there a disagreement among top hierarchy of the leadership of the association, saying such rift exists only in the minds of the rumour peddlers.
The association has also clarified that the decision to suspend the proposed strike was in response to some classified security reports that did not favour the action and not as a result of any disagreement within the association as alleged in some quarters.
Chairman of the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, in a statement Tuesday, dismissed speculations of disunity within the association’s hierarchy in reaction to some media reports, where the NAGAFF President, Chief Increase Uche was quoted to have said that NAGAFF stopped the planned protest of a group of freight forwarders and truckers known as COFFAMAT.
COFFAMAT had threatened to withdraw its services from the seaports if the Presidential Task Team continued to operate at the ports, accusing the task team of complicity in the menace on port access roads.
Tanko maintained that the NAGAFF President couldn’t have said that: “The 48-hour ultimatum issued by the COFFAMAT was a misplaced priority and an afterthought of some of the rabble rousers in the industry” as claimed in the news republished online.
Tanko said: “After issuing the 48-hour ultimatum, we got intelligence report that there would a gang up to use the withdrawal of service to cause commotion at the ports. If you observed what happened with the #EndSARS protests, then you would understand their plans. This was what informed our decision not to go ahead with the withdrawal of service.
“Instead, we wrote letters to the Presidency, Ministry of Transport, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State Governor, among others intimating them on the situation at the ports.
“These letters have been dispatched and we have got a response from NPA for a meeting and the Governor of Lagos State. The office of the Vice President has also reacted by asking us for a meeting next week. So, it is erroneous to say that NAGAFF stopped the proposed strike action by a group of freight forwarding associations and trucking associations.”
While insisting that Uche may have been quoted out of context, Tanko said: “I don’t agree that my (NAGAFF) President could have said those words attributed to him. This is because there is no fracas between us in NAGAFF, we are one family and I personally informed him of our activities. I signed the letters and made calls to him. In fact, he was part of the team that visited the Lagos State Governor. So, I don’t believe that the NAGAFF President could resort to calling us names”
Tanko however expressed shock that some freight forwarders are exonerating the Presidential Taskforce from the unending gridlock on the Lagos port access roads.
According to him, the Taskforce has outlived its relevance even as it had also lasted for over three years as against the two- month period it was designed to stay to clear the gridlocks and leave.
He challenged the chairman of the Taskforce, Mr. Kayode Opeifa to provide proof that his team was authorised to operate at the ports till date, arguing that even if such opportunity was created aggrieved freight forwarders and truckers would kick against such development given the complicity of its members in the worsening gridlocks in Apapa.