By DAPO OLAWUNI
About twenty two freight forwarding companies have threatened to drag the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) to court if it insist on collecting money from them under the guise of association dues for Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)
Apparently in defiance to instructions of the Minister of Transportation, Hon Rotimi Amaechi that no association dues must be collected at the airports and seaports other than the Practitioners Operations Fees (POF) by Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) the firms alleged that there is an existing arrangement between NAHCO and ANLCA to collect dues from practicing agents at the Lagos Airport and remit same to ANLCA.
The 22 Firms also indicated that this association dues is being collected from Freight practitioners, irrespective of being ANLCA member or not.
The Firms have therefore in a letter through their lawyers; Turony & Saifo, dated January 31st 2022 and signed by Ololade Faasoranti indicated their intention to dissociate from ANLCA, its deductions and activities.
The 22 firms involved are; Confidence Cargo Limited, Byakins Nigeria Limited, Oalek Global Concept, Brasol International Limited, Raqeem Cargo, Wolpek International Limited, Bowagate Global Limited, Zola Nigeria Limited, Zatem Nigeria Limited, Nugafirst Nigeria Limited, Ebie Investment Solution, Sulimadmus Ventures.
Others are; Vilen Worldwide Freight Limited, Bolbulk Nigeria Limited, Destiny Cargo, V-Logistics Limited, Royal Tasty Limited, Connect Global, Danzas Express, Ashanti Limited, Rose Jose Limited, and New World Limited.
They have however warned NAHCO to desist from such collections as they are not members of ANLCA, adding that failure to comply, the group would have no choice than to drag NAHCO and its partners to court.
In the letter copied to other relevant agencies at the Airport Airport security agencies, Ololade Faasoranti observed that ANLCA as an association is currently factionalised, and that anyone paying dues to her stands a risk of contempt of court since the National executives of ANLCA have been sacked by a competent court of law.
The letter states that “Our clients were considered wrongly as members of the registered trustees of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents due to the nature of their activities.
Our clients were in the past made to pay dues to the said association and through the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO)
“The premise upon which our clients have been made to pay dues to the association is fundamentally faulty and grossly misleading. To assume that a person who plies his trade must automatically belong to an association registered under part C to carry out similar trade is specious and misconceived.
“Membership of any association remains a matter of choice and certainly voluntary.
“Under our extant laws, specifically section 40 of the 1999 constitution as amended, membership of any association is by choice and no other way.
“Our clients have therefore resolved among themselves to disassociate themselves from Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents in all respect, but more particularly in any form of collection or deduction of dues.
“Our clients owe no obligations to the association and has unanimously resolved to pay no dues to the said association.
“Additionally, given the contestation in court, involving two factions of the association, it makes it even more justified for our clients to completely refuse or identify or be involved in their activities.
“Currently. the two factions are battling it in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/921/2020-OBIOKUN FREIGHT FORWARDERS & 0RS. V. REG. TRUSTEES 0F ANCLA &0RS.
“In the said suit, we are aware that a valid and subsisting order of court restraining the 9th to 30th defendants/respondents from acting, signing or writing letters and parading themselves as National officers of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents until the hearing and determination of the interlocutory injunction
“Without a doubt, the prescription in the order itself makes it legally impermissible for the association to collect dues and for NAHCO or any other body to receive dues on behalf of the association.
“Consequently and having regards to all of the above, our Clients by this letter unequivocally states that no deductions for paymmt of due be made from them and others associated with them.
“Any attempt by anyone to flout or go against this express wish of our clients will be met with most severe response from us under the law.
“We have decided to copy the relevant bodies including the police in this letter. We strongly advise that you abide and strictly adhere to our Clients position else you will be in contempt of Court and our Client will have no other choice than to take strict legal actions against you” it concluded.