Maritime

Furore in CRFFN Over Lingering Indebtedness

..Ag. Registrar Accused of Emptying Vault for UK Trip, Leaking Official Secrets


Despite its inability to pay rent debts amidst paucity of funds to meet critical obligations of the CRFFN, Acting Registrar, Chinyere Uromta has been accused of emptying the council’s finances for a trip she made to the UK in December,2023 and leaking official document .

Things are grinding to a halt as the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has become the most controversial agency of government under the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy for not having a substantive Chief Executive Officer and unable to meet it’s day to day financial obligations.

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Since the Council was removed from federal government allocation, it is solely dependent of Internally Generated Revenue which 40% is deducted at source in favour of Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of Government. This 40% remittance to CRF has been reviewed upward to 50% of IGR effective 1st January 2024.

The monthly wage bill of N47m per month to cover for workers salaries have not been paid for January and February 2024 . While staff members of the council are also being owed for duty your allowances (DTA) and other expenses incurred in the course of work, Mrs Uromta was alleged to have been paid up to N6m in recent times for her trips.

Sources at the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy disclosed that a recent letter to the minister authored by an official of CRFFN had accused the Acting Registrar ,Uromta, and pioneer Registrar Sir Mike Jukwe of mismanaging confidential information.


The ministry sources confirmed that one Mr. Linus Ikima, CRFFN’s Deputy Director in charge of Finance and Accounts wrote to the minister following an initial letter by Jukwe regarding payment of his claims. Ikima was responding to a petition by Jukwe

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Uromta was accused of either extracting or photocopying from the handover notes given by her predecessor and was alleged to be directly linked to a petition written by Jukwe

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She was alleged to have announced several times in the council’s Management Meetings of 7th December 2023 in Lagos and that of 11th December 2023 in Abuja that she does not want to work with Mr Ikima again as the Head of Finance & Accounts and had threatened to no longer recognises him as the Head of Finance & Accounts Department.

She was alleged to have used all available funds in the council for a UK Course which she embarked on late last year but had called the former Registrar to expect payment when there are no funds to back it up.

Uromta who doubles as Head of Enforcement has not been on ground to discharge the functions of that office . The enforcement office, according to inside sources is directly linked with the IGR activities, particularly the collection of practitioners operating fees.

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Part of Ikima’s letter stated ” that between November 1st to 13th 2023, all available funds were mopped to pay for UK Course/training of the Acting Registrar/CEO from 13th to 18th November 2023 who instructed that it should be so. Calling Mike Jukwe and asking him to expect alert when we mopped funds to pay for her UK trip was rather usual and tantamount to blackmail

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“Mike Jukwe during his tenure as the Registrar/CEO got the sum of N196,400,000.00 (one hundred and ninety million, four hundred thousand Naira only) in March 2014 from the Federal Government through the service wide vote to pay rents. This money was enough to pay ten years rent/lease for his house that was rented to the Council, but he paid only N28,560,000.00 as three years rent.

“Mike Jukwe used the balance of N167,840,000.00 from the N196,400,000.00 granted to the Council to create further mind boggling rent liabilities for the Council which we are still paying from the little IGR and which is affecting our ability to meet our financial obligations including the payment of his rent.

For example, Mike Jukwe rented building as GUEST HOUSE for Registrar/CEO in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos and paid N34,788,000.00 as three years’ rent. He used the place very sparingly and the whole rent got wasted. We are still owing the landlord N34,499,999.00 and he seized a Prado Jeep of the Council which has not been released. Mike Jukwe also rented another GUEST HOUSE IN KANO located on Bompai Road, Kano and paid N29,580,000.00 as three years rent.

The landlord is still pressing the Council to pay outstanding rent of N34,510,000.00. Other outstanding rents incurred by Mike Jukwe include N18,416,666,67 rent owed on property located at No.2, Bisi Omidiora street, Apapa, Lagos

“Even when funds are available, Ag Registrar/CEO Mrs Uromta Chinyere will instruct me to pay all her numerous personal claims or other ones she has special interest before paying others.

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The Ag R/CEO has done this several times that I brought out the petitioner’s claim for her to give me the go –ahead to make payment but before you know it, the available funds are exhausted. It important to reiterate that every approval for payment is always at the instance of the CEO.

“The petitioner rented building as GUEST HOUSE for Registrar/CEO in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos and paid N34,788,000.00 as three years’ rent (Appendix 7A-7B). He used the place very sparingly and the whole rent got wasted.

The Council is still owing the landlord N34,499,999.00 who has seized a Prado Jeep of the Council which has not been released till date. The petitioner also rented another GUEST HOUSE IN KANO located on Bompai Road, Kano and paid N29,580,000.00as three years rent (Appendix 8A-8B).

The landlord is still pressing the Council to pay outstanding rent of N34,510,000.00. Other outstanding rents incurred by the petitioner include N18,416,666,67 rent owed on property located at No.2, Bisi Omidiora street, Apapa, Lagos etc”

When contacted, Okechukwu Noel, the CRFFN Workers Union Chairman confirmed his members have not been paid for over two months. He described the situation as worrisome but declined further comments on the issue as to what the Union’s next step would be.

It was gathered that the workers are agitated and may likely take far reaching measures to protest the hardship under the Acting Registrar’s leadership

Short Message Service (SMS) and WhatsApp messages sent to Chinyere Uromta, the Acting Registrar were not responded to as at the time of this report



Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600, hubitokoria@gmail.com

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