The sudden death of Chief Festus Ejiofor, factional President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agent (NCMDLCA), has continued to attract comments from his colleagues and practitioners in the freight forwarding industry. Chief Ejiofor died of heart attack last Monday.

In his tribute, a close friend of the deceased and Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said, “Ejiofor’s death is most unfortunate. Cardiac arrest is a serious illness that can steal anybody at any time; so it is a source of concern for us especially for people from 50 years and above.

Going by the trend as it affects people within the 50- year bracket, he advised that those in the freight forwarding business should always be conscious of their health status and check themselves at all times. “Somebody at 50 years and still doing clearing job is just near the grave if he is not careful with what he does,” Aniebonam said.

Also speaking, National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigeria License Customs Agent (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto said, “This is just telling us that we should be careful with our health. ANLCA is very sad about it. We commiserate with the family.”

In 2009, crisis erupted in the ranks of the NCMDLCA when the leadership of the body became factionalized. The faction led by late Ejiofor said it had removed the council’s National President, Mr. Lucky Amiwero from office. Amiwero, however, claimed that Ejiofor and his supporters were not members of the council. Ejiofor was arrested on the allegation of forgery of the NCMDLCA membership certificate. After pleading not guilty to the charges, he was granted bail in the sum of N100, 000 and two sureties in like sum.

MWA recalls a recent call by Mr. Chibuzo Azubuike Esq, Principal Partner of a Lagos based law firm, Chibuzo Azubuike and Co that peace be allowed to reign in the NCMDLCA.  Azubuike who made this call in a letter he addressed to the Chairman of Elders/Founding Fathers, Chief Austin Kelly, the President of the Council, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, the factional President of the Council, Chief Festus Ejiofor and counsel to Mr. Amiwero, Sir Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara, urged the parties to be ready to give peace a chance and attend a peace and settlement meeting being arranged by his Chambers.

In a letter,  Azubuike disclosed that the Chamber had been briefed by the elders and fathers of the NCMLCA with a singular purpose of appealing and calling on all to seek peace and allow for settlement of whatever issue (s) plaguing the Council.

“Our role having been briefed by these elders and founding fathers is to urge all parties to give peace a chance and allow what the courts have requested of all to do –seek peace and settlement. Given this honourable request by the courts, we most sincerely urge the warring the parties, their lawyers and their supporters etc to seek peace and settlement.

“It may be recalled that the Honourable Minister of Trade and Investments working in line with order of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, tried similarly to ensure peace and settlement, however, not much came out of this.

“It must be noted that this long drawn out crisis and acrimony has caused the Council respect, prestige and top position in the maritime industry. What else can be said, than that the Council is dying and members are highly disillusioned. Take a look at the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). What else do you see?”

Azubuike observed that peace is costly but it is cheaper than war and with peace, development and progress booms. “In this peace initiative, sacrifice should be made to save the Council; please think of this and attend the peace and settlement meeting once called, which shall be soonest”, he stated.