By DAPO OLAWUNI
A Federal High Court in Ikoyi Lagos has recognised Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and other listed members in the certificate of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as authentic members of the Board of Trustees of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)
Apparently, there were leadership crisis in the association BOT that Mustapha as well as four others were not authentic members of the BOT because their names were not registered on the CAC for the past six years.
Mustapha and others had approached the CAC and on 16th of January 2020 updated the CAC registration, an action that still did not seat well with some embittered members of the association.
ANLCA Publicity Secretary, Joe Sanni in a statement said that Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi – in a Suit No. FHC/L/CS/599/2020 has recognized the certificate of registration of the BOT issued on the 16th of January 2020 as authentic, and that members listed therein are validly elected BOT members in the February 2014 Board elections, held in Warri-Delta state.
The court order according to him, was issued on Wednesday-1st of July 2020.
“As a result of contestations on the validity or otherwise of some members in the BOT, upon which they were all jointly sued by Chief Peter Obih, Justice Aikawa in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1274/2018 delivered a judgement stating that, without that BOT elected in 2014 registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), that particular BOT membership remained inchoate and therefore illegal”
“The then implication meant that there was no BOT, no NECOM, no Eastern zone chapters’ executives and, no Western zone chapters’ executives, since those activities were conducted by the defaulted Board”
“While all the foregoing structures were being actively promoted by especially some members of NECOM, their BOT collaborators and Eastern zone chapters executives, the authentic, cohesive and determined original members of ANLCA’s BOT resolutely pursued their registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) having realized that since 2001, there was no other official BOT registration”
“Chief Henry Njoku, it was discovered during the process, has perpetrated several forgeries on the original 2001 BOT certificate, which he forcefully and, with threats and blackmail, obtained from Chief James O.K. Idornigie (JOKI) in 2008, who was then the BOT Chairman”
“Now that the Federal High Court has ordered that “The defendants/Respondents (the “Defendants”) either by themselves, their agents, members, privies or whosoever howsoever are hereby restrained in the interim from taking any actions, step or conducting themselves in any manner that is capable of harassing, intimidating, restraining or inhibiting the plaintiffs and other trustees of the 1st Defendant registered with the 5th defendants as contained in the certificate of registration dated 16th of January 2020, from functioning as lawful registered trustees of the association, pending the determination of the motion on Notice in this Suit”, another opportunity has been presented to the National President – Iju Tony Nwabunike and some of his NECOM collaborators, to recognize the sustained fact that 5 members of the then 8-membered BOT are greater than then 3 members, and genuinely without further delay, make peace with the aggrieved, especially in the Western Zone, in order to reunite ANLCA towards alleviating the sufferings of its members nationwide”
Justice O.O Oguntoyinbo went further to state in paragraph 3, as follows: “……The Defendants either by…… are hereby restrained in the interim from making any statement, or publishing any information, communiqué or anything whatsoever or engaging in any acts capable of affecting the “Trustees of ANLCA” status of the plaintiffs in this suit and other Trustees registered with the 5th Defendant as contained in the certificate of registration dated January 16th 2020, pending the determination of the motion on Notice in this suit.”
Paragraph 4 of the order expressly stated inter alia, “…………are hereby restrained from taking any step or any action capable of interfering with the activities of the plaintiff herein, and other trustees of ANLCA………….dated 16th of January 2020, in carrying out their duties to the Association in line with the provisions of the constitution of the Association, pending………………”
From the quoted portions of the ex parte order granted on the 29th of June 2020, it is very clear now that the BOT elected on the 13th of February 2014 at Warri, whose members freely chose Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as Chairman of the BOT, Chief Dennis Okafor as Vice Chairman and Prince Taiye Oyeniyi as Secretary of BOT on the 13th of April 2018 at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos are the authentic officials of the Board of Trustees of ANLCA with a constitutional mandate of six year tenure”
“Tony Iju Nwabunike as National President is hereby advised to seize this opportunity to rally round all those he has knowingly or unknowingly, through his actions and inactions offended, to commence a genuine fence-mending exercise to reestablish ANLCA as the numero uno professional Customs Brokerage association in the maritime industry in Nigeria” Joe Sanni stated