By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Chairman, Registered Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha has accused the Iju Tony Nwabunike led National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the exhibition of bad faith in the ongoing settlement aimed at resolving the association’s crisis that has lingered for over three years.
Mustapha who was reacting to negative media reports churned out by NECOM to rubbish the peace process being brokered partly by the dynamic leadership of the Nigerian Police said it has become obvious that those in NECOM were not committed to peaceful resolution but only interested in playing to the gallery, deceiving everybody and insulting the intelligence of members of the association.
For playing yet again the spoiler, Mustapha said he has decided to allow members of the association who have been spoiling for action to take their fate in their hands, demand for accountability from the NECOM for the period they were in office; and apply whatever lawful means they deem necessary to rescue their association from those he described as untrustworthy characters.
According to him, it was advised that for the peace process to work, the warring factions should abstain from unfriendly media engagements, noting that raising alarm about a supposed vandalized secretariat under the protection of the Nigerian Police was not only disingenuous but a direct attack on the integrity of the police who he said have demonstrated unquestioning professionalism and capacity in delivering its tasks under the watch of the present leadership.
It will be recalled that members of the NECOM have used the maritime online media to accuse the BoT and its supporters of wide range destruction at the secretariat, including stealing documents.
Utterly disappointed, Mustapha said members of the association nationwide are now at liberty to demand accountability from the NECOM over its finances and alleged illegal activities.
His words: “It has become very glaring that this people we are dealing with have no character and honour of any kind. You know my stand for peace, for some time notable members of the association have been appealing to jettison talks about settlement, that they will only use it to seek some breathe of air to continue to hold the association and its members hostage, but l said no, because l was committed to peace, and redeeming the image of ANLCA in the maritime industry, however it comes.
“That was why despite the BoT’s strong position l still prevailed on members and supporters to allow us try an amicable way of settlement. I think l played into their hands when we all met at the Commissioner of Police’s office and they were begging that we should resolve. I said well, we should negotiate, let there be peace, my people didn’t want us to give them that honour, but l appealed to them to allow for discussion and compromise.
“I have realized that these guys are pathologically devilish and arrogant fellows. I am beginning to see why some of members kept warning me to be careful of their pretenses. How could a senior police officer of a Superintendent rank with about 12 police men stand with us outside the secretariat and allow vandalism? Their days of regrets are very close. They will no longer have peace as long as they are not ready to let justice and fairness prevail in the association.”
He said. As a matte of fact, I personally begged the CP not to withdraw his men while the peace process is ongoing in case of any breach of peace.
“Having discussed and agreed on some form of settlement, both parties also agreed that the police could open the secretariat so that everybody can have access to further the discussion to achieve permanent harmony. Out of about six issues, we resolved about four in the presence of the Area Commander who was with us. With just two remaining, which we said a committee should go and resolve. But while the committee is yet to do its job, look at the stones they are throwing, are they worthy opponents?
“To even think that they are indirectly accusing the police of allowing the secretariat to be vandalized is very pathetic. We gain entry into the secretariat with the support of the police, and till this moment, the police men are still keeping watch over the secretariat.
“We agreed that all sides should stay clear of actions that could derail the peace process, including unfriendly media posturing. In the first place where did they get the idea that the secretariat was vandalized, they didn’t publish their facts but only made spurious allegations through the media. We didn’t access the place without the police, and those weaving this new lies can answer which of the association vehicle was vandalised?
“Some of our members are already raising questions on all monies they have collected in the past four years, including about N25million Western Zone members paid to obtain nomination forms; we will go back to all these fraud.
“We will also go back to the fraud they committed at the Abeokuta High Court, perjury is a criminal offence. l have resolved that they should be brought to justice, l am not sure of going to sit down with them again on this peace process which they have abused.”