Lawyer wants meeting between CRFFN and freight forwarders facilitated by skilled mediators



Lagos Lawyer and Mediation Advocate, Mr Valentino Buoro has urged the Federal Government to engage the services of skilled mediators to facilitate the ministerial order for a meeting between the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the  Associations of Freight Forwarders registered and recognized by the Council.

In a statement he issued in Lagos yesterday, Buoro emphasized that the well intentioned directive of the Minister of Transportation, Hon.  Rotimi Amaechi that the practitioners reconcile their differences within two weeks may hit the rocks if the parties were allowed to meet among themselves without skilled professional facilitators.

 He said that all over the world conflicts of significant proportions were usually facilitated by third party neutrals who are capable of gaining the respect of all parties to the dispute.

Buoro said that only skilled mediators would be able to manage the intensity of interests that had ravaged the freight forwarding industry since the enactment of the regulatory Act of 2007.

 He said negotiations such as was now expected between the Forwarders and their regulatory council would only inflame more emotive reactions where one party is erroneously perceived as the godfather to whom prodigal sons have return by government fiat.

No one should make any mistakes of the fact that implicit in whatever excuses may have been presented as cause for the disagreements, there also exist underlying interests for economic gains and the quest for group or personal recognition.

He advised that mediators who must be engaged for this reconciliation must never have had overt dealings in the maritime industry nor had any immediate ambitions to do so.

He said they should be well experienced professionals who would come with fresh perspectives capable of swinging the freight forwarding industry back to a great start.

He said although it should be acknowledge that the Nigerian maritime industry has a corps of well-respected mediation and other ADR process experts, they must disqualify themselves from this particular exercise as a result of prior relationships with parties.

Buoro who is also country representative of the Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates (SCMA) expressed optimism that the CRFFN will soon assume its full regulatory mandate having just been freed of avoidable shackles foisted on it by previous leaderships of the Nigerian Customs Service.

He urged both the CRFFN and the registered associations to also take immediate steps to resuscitate activities of the Institute of Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers with a view to sustaining the neutral platform through which the myriad of concerns of freight forwarders can be ventilated from time to time.