…Alleges N31Million Scam Over Western Zone Election
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that the crisis in the association has not been resolved because the Tony Iju Nwabunike led administration has been resisting all peaceful overtures made by the board.
The board also accused the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the association of collecting a total of N31million from members under the guise of conducting an election, but the money was never accounted for.
The BOT has however warned members and stakeholders to disregard the Tony Iju Nwabunike administration because they have been sacked by the court of law and they are just a “tenant” at the national secretariat.
Speaking at an extended meeting of Western Zone members in Lagos yesterday, the BOT Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha accused Nwabunike executives of acting in contravention of a court order which stops them from parading themselves in office.
He recounted many occasions when the board has extended the olive branch to the national and tried to resolve the crisis in the association, called for several meetings between the board and NECOM, but the National President was always not responding to the peaceful moves.
According to him, the board has assured NECOM of conceding
certain privileges and positions in order for peace to reign, and demanded NECOM to also act in good faith, but all that appeal, fell on deaf ears.
Mustapha said the anger among the Western Zone members led to the recent attack on the National Secretariat, where properties were destroyed and some persons were arrested by the police.
“One of the pholosophers said, when you make peaceful resolution impossible, you make violent resolution inevitable, and that was the aftermath of what you saw at the ANLCA national secretariat.
“We have tried to make things peaceful among our members within the zone, what got them to the level of attacking the secretariat was that, if the ANLCA President, Tony Iju and his executives were under suspension by the court of law, and they refuse to obey, this means that they are not obedient and law abiding citizens”
“On the day of the attack, the Ndigbo were going to make a solidarity visit to the secretariat, while our guys who are Ooduas were boiling within themselves that this is a mockery of us, if we are keeping quiet and trying to be peaceful about the whole thing, and yet some people are mocking us over it, then it is better we make it hot, and this was what happened.
Thank God that I flew in from Port Harcourt that day to douse the whole tension”
“I have spoken with our group not to result to violence, if at all they want to protest against the national executives, they should go to the national secretariat and carry their placards, call the press to witness it, and that would be sufficient” Mustapha stated
Continuing, he said “It is unfortunate that we found ourselves in this situation, ANLCA has always been a happy family and one big house, but within a household, there is always a quarrel, what matters most is that they settle it among themselves”
“I personally, am very much interested in resolving this crisis, and I have made up my mind that irrespective of whatever name anybody calls me, we would surely resolve it, those who don’t want it resolved, we would find a way to take care of them and at the end of the day, they would come back and apologise, the crisis has caused us a lot already”
“If it were to be the time that ANLCA had one common voice, the border closure lasted for one year, we would have summoned courage to form a united front and meet with the authorities involved, some other people were doing that on our behalf, some of our members are doing it, but on a mushroom level, but if we all agree and united, we could seek audience with the President of the Federal Republic and get something done”
“Nothing is moving right now, it is a little bit better for us in the East, but it is worst in the West because nothing is moving, the roads are bad, no facilities, the terminal operators behave like lord of the manor, they do what they like and nobody challenges them, we are going to correct all that very soon”
Also speaking, former President of ANLCA and member of BOT, Chief Earnest Elochukwu lamented that the board is ready to make peace with the National executives, but they are busy making war against the board.
“Our chairman (Mustapha) is the one that has been calming us down, he is a pacifist, a man of peace, but the national executives are busy making war, perhaps, we may have to make that war with them, so that peace can reign at the end”
Elochukwu warned that the gentility of the board should not be misconstrued for weakness, urging the National President to show good fate, and ensure that the court order is obeyed.
“For us, we are worried, and that is what has been controlling our reactions till date, the only thing we are saying is that they themselves should show good faith”
“What a sound mind would have done is to go back to court and vacate the order that stops them from parading themselves in office, and seek to vacate it, rather than do this, they embarked on propaganda, trying to demonise some of us to make it look like there is something we are looking for”
“What we are asking them to do, is to behave appropriately, and be able to show the same good fate for us to be able to solve the problem.
For us here, and the way our chairman has been carrying on, we want to see that everything is resolved and we move on, but it also depend on how the other parties go about it” he said
On his part, the Secretary of the board, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi warned ANLCA members to be wary of any action taken at this time by Tony Iju Nwabunike and his executives, saying that, any election done in Abuja, Lagos or Kano, that the board does not append their signature, it is non and void.
He said the NECOM are no longer active because they have been sacked by thr court. According to him, any official action is now being taken by the BOT as registered trustees of the association.
“I want to tell this house that based on the fact that the board is following the rules of law, the president made it difficult to resolve issues, ASECO has been dissolved, there is no ASECO to conduct any elections yet, either in the East, in West, Abuja or Kano”
“I want to make it clear that N11million was paid by the western zone to the former ASECO, and the money was collected by Barr Oyinba and Co, that money is yet to be accounted for, the national collected N21milliom from members on N10,000 each as registration fund, that money has not been accounted for”
“The constitution of ANLCA was used to swear-in the Tony Iju led former executives, they are only in the secretariat now as a tenant, because that building does not belong to them”