We are a responsible organization, APFFLON replies NAFDAC

Frank Ogunojemite. APFFLON President

The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has declared that it is not established to run down any organization or individual but act as an agent of change working with government agencies, service providers, individuals, and other professional bodies towards efficient and transparent transport industry – maritime and aviation – in the country.     

APFFLON noted that its members are responsible and patriotic Nigerians who have no reason to disparage any individual or organization and not inclined to make spurious allegations.

APFFLON President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite stated this in a reaction to a rejoinder by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) while responding in the media to a report in which the association had pointed out flaws in the modes of operations by NAFDAC.

NAFDAC in its rejoinder said ‘’The contents of the publication especially with regards to the comments made by the National President of the Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite are deliberately calculated mischievous, false and concocted statements that have been carefully scripted to fight back the anti-corruption systems being put in place by NAFDAC Management and to also mislead the general public on the new full ‘end-to-end online processing of the clearance of NAFDAC regulated products at the various airports, seaports and land borders.

‘’APFFLON is known to have a penchant for discrediting sincere and innovative systems put in place by government agencies because these systems tend to eliminate all the sharp practices of document faking, compromise of officers, bribery, and corruption which used to exist with manual procedures that created room for contact with officers. In response to APFFLON claim that “for all consignments that require NAFDAC authorization before clearance at the ports, it is now online. Besides, it is posing many problems to access the website let alone process the platform for the first and second stamping, of which, if not completed the person won’t be able to pay customs duty, meaning that freight forwarders would have to keep paying rent to terminals until the issue is resolved”

Ogunojemite stated that all the information on the activities of both government agencies and private service providers in the industry being shunned out by the association are always based on facts collated from the field, and are not set out to tarnish or disparage anybody or organization. He wondered why NAFDAC would feel otherwise when flaws in its operations were being pointed out.    

According to APFFLON President, ‘’our attention has been drawn to a rejoinder by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), published on the 16th of June, 2020, by Verity News Online in response to a media briefing where APFFLON protested the Agency’s inability to address the non-functionality of its newly introduced electronic portal, and the loss of fiscal cash and man-hours incurred by manufacturers, importers and freight forwarders due to delays in accessing the NAFDAC Portal.

‘’The media protest captioned: “APFFLON BERATES NAFDAC SHODDY MODE OF OPERATION,” and published on the 8th day of June 2020 by Business Update online was a protest made following the outcries of freight forwarders on their bitter experiences with the Agency in the course of the online processing of the clearance of NAFDAC regulated products at Various Ports and land borders.

‘’We want to hereby state clearly that APPFLON is made up of responsible and patriotic Nigerians who have no reasons whatsoever to run any individual or organization down but stick to verifiable facts. The association is not inclined to make spurious allegations but samples opinions from those in the field before raising its voice as an Advocacy group. We will continue to do what is needful and will neither allow intimidation nor cheap blackmail to stand in our way, we must continue to come up with verifiable facts before raising a voice against any individual, group of people or organizations that would want to jeopardize the Ease of Doing Business, or sit back to watch freight forwarders impoverished due to the inefficiency or lackadaisical attitudes of public servants in Government agencies.

 ‘’If at all the accusation is false or concocted as NAFDAC claims, let it make public proof of any sensitization program it organised even before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. We as an advocacy group will continue to resist every act of unprofessionalism regardless of whose ox is gored.’’

‘’It is laughable that the DG of NAFDAC who is yet to visit any port facility since her assumption of office for any form of sensitization programme now accuses an association that desires to see the agency improve on its performances as “a group known for having a penchant for discrediting sincere and innovative systems tend to eliminate all sharp practices…,” even as its staff station touts who receive kickbacks from people on their behalf before rendering services to them. For this singular reason, NAFDAC cannot exonerate itself from sharp practices.

‘’It is very painful saying that APFFLON thrives on running down sincere and innovative systems because we often table facts exposing their shenanigans. And we would have advised that the energy the Agency dissipated in putting up so lengthy a rejoinder would have been used in planning a critical sensitization programme for stakeholders especially on the easier way of processing transactions on the Agency’s portal.

‘’However, APFFLON believes that without the Public outcry, that prompted the protest published online, NAFDAC wouldn’t have deemed it necessary to come up with the long episode that conveys its critical information and guidelines for its operations. 

‘’NAFDAC cannot judge itself; it is only through opinion poll that they can ascertain the quality of their services to Nigerians. Instead of creating an enabling environment for ease of doing business, and ensuring the efficiency of its electronic portal, the Agency is trying so hard to exonerate itself of any form of blame.

‘’We are not castigating anyone but must continue on the path of truth, we want agencies and governmental organizations to always be efficient and transparent with good and workable systems that can compete with international best practices, even as we can testify to the good efforts of other government agencies like Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), CRFFN, etc.

‘’In July 2016, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari set up The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), if at all there is no room for business improvement in the country there wouldn’t have been anything like PEBEC, and what we earnestly yearn for is improvement in radical sectors. We are not surprised by the rejoinder but a critical appraisal and intelligent investigation will further expose its shoddy mode of operations especially in ports areas.’’

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