By Steve Agbota, Lagos
The freight forwarders under the aegis of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) have condemned President Muhammadu Buhari over the total exclusion of practicing freight forwarders among recipients of the recent National Awards.
The freight forwarders lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari conferred national awards on some individuals recently, including foreigners and snubbed freight forwarders who are behind the revenue generated by various government agencies especially Customs operating at the Ports.
According to APFFLON, the snub by the President has shown that the immense contribution and input of freight forwarders to national economy is not appreciated and recognised.
Recall that Buhari on October 11, 2022, honoured over 437 nominees with various categories of Awards in recognition of their contributions to the growth and development of the country.
The event which was part of series of activities to mark Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary, did not include anyone from the freight forwarding sub sector.
Speaking through its National President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said that the exclusion of freight forwarders among recipients of any of the categories of the national honour is an attestation that the immense contribution of the sub sector to the national economy is not appreciated by the government.
He further blamed the non recognition of freight forwarders on the infighting and lingering disunity amongst themselves especially the protracted crises rocking the boat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the foremost association in the ports industry.
According to him, “Nigerians and foreigners from different fields of endeavour were nominated for national awards and no single freight forwarder made the list, which means that our contributions to the economic development of our dear country is not appreciated, we have freight forwarders who have distinguished themselves as professionals and as worthy Nigerians, people like Prince Olayiwola Shittu, Chief Ernest Elochukwu, Aare Akeem Olanrewaju, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, Chief Taiye Oyeniyi, Chief Tijani Tijako, Chief Henry Njoku, Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike to mention a few.”
“I think there is no better time for practitioners in the ports industry to build a platform that will foster unity than now, we need to chart a new course and in one voice, drive home our demands. If recipients of the national awards could be chosen from different fields why exclude the freight forwarding sub sector? “Does it mean we don’t have even one person from the sub sector that deserves National Honour, for me, it does not portray us in good light, but l strongly believe that the non inclusion of a single freight forwarder among the National Awards recipients does not in anyway erase the fact that the sub sector is unarguably, one of the economic pillars of the country,” Ogunojemite insisted.