By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has gotten an extension of another six years to stay in office after regularising its registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
The board members, by ANLCA constitution were supposed to vacate office on 14th of February 2020, but in the course of the protracted crisis that engulfed the board in 2018, it was discovered that the board failed to regularise its registration with CAC since year 2001 and that it failed to register the names of five out of its nine members.
The BOT who are constitutionally, the custodian of ANLCA, also failed to pay the annual dues to the CAC since 2001, neither have the association made any annual returns to the corporate affairs.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos thus nullified the board elections in 2019, and directed that they must stop parading themselves at BOT of ANLCA.
Names of the BOT were; Chief Dennis Okafor, Dayo Azeez, Taiwo Mustapha, Earnest Elochukwu. Those whose name were on the CAC before 2001 were; Taiye Oyeniyi, Henry Njoku, Aare Sanni Shittu and Peter Obi.
Briefing newsmen at the end of a peace-meeting and elections conducted at the ANLCA Secretariat in Lagos yesterday, Newly elected Chairman of the BOT, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha confirmed that the registration of the board have now been regularized.
According to him, the board would now proceed to spend another six years in office, since the courts have declared its first six years non and void due to its lack of registration.
Mustapha acknowledged that the tenure of the board supposed end on 13th of February 2020 as this was the date they were elected in 2014, for a tenure of six years.
He however argued that in the eyes of the law, and legally speaking, and based on the court judgement, the tenure of the BOT is just starting on the 16th of January for another six years.
Mustapha pledged that the board is ready to work with the ANLCA President, Tony Iju is ensuring that peace is returned into the association.
Speaking, he said “I believe some of you are aware of the court judgement that was given to one of the board members, Peter Obi, when he sued me Taiwo Mustapha, that I couldn’t have been the board chairman, now the judgment came up and the judgement was against us that I should stop parading myself as the chairman”
“With that judgment, we felt that it was an indictment for us not to have made the move to register our names all these while, we went back to CAC and what we got there was really disdainful, we realized that since 2001, ANLCA has not been paying the annual dues, neither have the association made any annual returns to the corporate affairs, so we have been existing just in name as ANLCA but legally we were not there”
“So, it was on the basis of this that all the annual returns were paid by five of us from our personal pocket”
Mustapha also alleged that during the registration process, it was discovered that three of the board members; Henry Njoku, Peter Obih and Aare Sanni Shittu had forged a letter to the CAC that ANLCA file should be caveat and taken off the shelves at CAC.
He said this action made it difficult for anyone to carryout action on the association for several years. According to him, in the process of regularising the registration, Henry Njoku had allegedly written again to the CAC, seeking to halt the process and that ANLCA should remain how it was.
“But thank God we fought the issue and the registration was done four of us were registered and the names of the entire eight of us still appears on the certificate, as it is today, ANLCA is now brand new as far as corporate affairs is concerned and that is one of the reasons we have to had this meeting, so as to intimate the president officially that this is where we are”
Mustapha explained that the meeting called yesterday was to hold a fresh election to determine chairman and officers of the board. Surprisingly, he said three members; Henry Njoku, Peter Obih, and Aare Sanni Shittu boycotted the meeting, even though they were dully informed.
“We have held another election today and I have been returned as the Chairman of the board , Chief Dennis have been returned as the Vice Chairman and Prince Taiye Oyeniyi have been returned as the secretary of ANLCA board”
“In order to avoid any misgivings because anybody can say the tenure of the board should probably end on the 13th of this month, because that was when we held the election in 2014″
“Agreed the election supposed to end this year, because it’s a tenure of six years, but in the eyes of the law legally speaking and based on that court judgement that says we are not yet board members until we are registered in the corporate affairs, so as far as we are concerned, that tenure is just starting on the 16th of January for another six years”
“So we take it that on the 16th of January that is when we became the board members of ANLCA” he said
He assured that notwithstanding their absence at the election, the board will work together with the three other members since their names were included in the registration.
Another member of the board, Sir Earnest Elochukwu lamented that the protracted crisis in ANLCA has robbed off on all members of the association and that most of the operational challenges of ANLCA members have been left unsolvable.
He however pledged that the board would assist the President in repositioning ANLCA in other to retain its lost glory in the sector.