…As AIG Maritime Police Task Stakeholders to Dissociate from ANLCA Members
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Following the recent bloody attack on the Tin Can Island Port Chapter Secretariat of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) by hoodlums allegedly sponsored by some disgruntled members, the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the association headed by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha has directed the Interim National Executive Committee (NECOM) including all chapters and supporters in the Western Zone to suspend all operations till further notice.
At a press briefing in Ikeja Lagos on Friday, Chairman of the ANLCA BOT, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha said the group has decided to suspend all activities, pending the release of report of the crisis resolution committee set up by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
He also said the board has decided to wait for the Police and the Courts to dispense with all the cases before them and abide by whatever outcome that is reached.
Alhaji Mustapha told Journalists that this move should not be misconstrued as act of cowardice or conceding defeat to the errant faction of the association, but it should be seen as a sign to protect the lives of members, and preserve the soul of the association which is gradually moving towards disintegration and being proscribed.
Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha also revealed that the AIG Maritime Police recently issued a letter to all shipping companies, customs commands and stakeholders that, nobody should association with any member of ANLCA at association level.
Recall that recently, the crisis that engulfed the association took a fresh twist when thugs allegedly sponsored by the factional Chairman of Tin Can Island Port Chapter, Mr Ojo Akintoye mistakenly matcheted a prominent member of the association, Mr Wale Cole, who landed in hospital and almost lost his live in the process.
DAILY TREND reports that the leadership crisis in ANLCA has lingered for more than four years now, even as the immediate past President of the association, Hon Tony Iju Nwabunike abandoned the association in the heat of crisis, and handed over to his Vice, Dr Kayode Farinto and his National Secretary, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila.
However, following the expiration of their tenure in April 2022, the remaining members of the former NECOM have decided to held on and continued to forment trouble for the association.
Against this backdrop, the BOT Chairman, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha told journalists that “We have decided that in order to save lives for now, we have appealed to our people that everybody should sheath their swords and calm down, there should be no activity for now. We have also decided that at the end of the day, if the CRFFN comes out with any conflict resolution report, for our own side, we would try as much as possible to abide by it .
“All the court cases are still there, we had agreed at a point that we would withdraw all the court cases, and if for any reason, judgement on anyone of the cases comes up, we would abide by whatever the court says.
“We are saying it emphatically that we believe in CRFFN, and we believe in the law of the land, whatever comes out of the court or CRFFN, we would abide by it.
“We are putting it to them (expired NECOM) that, if they want peace, we are ready for peace, but if they want war, let them go to their villages to go and war, we are no longer interested in having anything to do with them if they fail to embrace reconciliation
“There is no way we would leave ANLCA for them, but what we are saying is that, rather than any of our own side to keep holding activities that would warrant reaction from them. If Wale Cole had died, it could have been a different ball game.
“In order to avoid that, this is why we at board level is appealing to our interim government, all our chapter chairmen and all our supporters to suspend all activities in ANLCA for now, pending when, either the CRFFN or any of the court judgement comes up to resolve the issue” he stated
The BOT Chairman argued that the tenure of the Tony Iju’s NECOM has expired on the 16th of April 2022, so there should be no vacuum. Based on this, he said the Board decided to Inaugurate an interim government.
“This same interim government were having a meeting, and the point we are trying to make glaring to everybody is that, the interim body applied to the Nigerian Police that they were going to hold that meeting. There was no way the same set of people would now go and bring hoodlums to disrupt the same meeting” he said
He debunked recent insinuation by the former Vice President, Kayode Farinto that the Western Zone perpetrated the attack on Wale Cole, saying that this is an attempt to twist the narrative.
“Because life is about to be lost, and the crisis is degenerating to where bloodshed is coming in, this is why we decided in the board that it is high time we call on our Interim government to stay action.
“I don’t want it to be on record that it was when Taiwo Mustapha was leading the BOT that ANLCA disintegrated.
“A letter was written by the AIG Maritime recently to all shipping companies and customs area commands to stop associating with any ANLCA members at association level. Even at the government level, if the Ministry of Transportation comes out tomorrow and proscribe ANLCA at the port, what have we gained by killing the association? We want the association to bounce back in a better way, and we believe that after this crisis, ANLCA would have a rebirth.
“The Secretariat would remain locked down because the tenure of the former NECOM has since expired.
I am more concerned about members safety security, not because the expired NECOM want to over-run anybody, this is not out of being weak, they have tried it before and they couldn’t succeed, they tried it now again and they still failed.
“Henry Njoku is the cause of all these crisis, I can tell you, having brought ANLCA to this level, he has gone ahead to register another association” he said
While recounting various efforts made by the board over the years to resolve the ANLCA crisis, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha alleged that such moves are constantly truncated by the other faction.
“At the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it was agreed that we would come back with a consent judgement, whereby both parties have agreed and decided to withdraw all court cases, all police cases, come back and register a new board.
“The suggestion at the end of the day was that, five of us was still in the board,we asked them to bring four members of the board they have elected, so that we can form a new board and move forward
“Rather than do this, they used a kangaroo court judgement obtained from Abeokuta to deceive the corporate affairs and registered another board. This is to say that while we were having it in good faith, that we were moving towards ending this crisis, they were doing something else, rather than resolving the issue by merging the two bodies together, they went to the CAC to do a separate registration. The CAC is already in the know of what they did” he stated
Also buttressing the ANLCA BOT Chairman, the Secretary of the board, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi said the Tony Iju’s administration was given a certificate of return for four years mandate in office, and they decided to extend it by one years.
According to him, the constitution they were sworn in with was that of 2008, but that midway into their tenure, they decided to switch the goal post while the match was already in play.
“They went ahead and held an AGM meeting during the period of crisis to amend the existing constitution.
There is a simple adage that says that, if the truth travels for a thousand miles, one day the truth will rise up and overtake it.
“The expired NECOM wanted to eat their cake and have it at the same time by breeching the ANLCA constitution. Rather than bring four members of their board to add to the existing five, they wanted to bring their own nine members to join the five, so that when it comes to voting power, the nine would be powerful than five” he said
According to Prince Taiye Oyeniyi, a former member of the board, Chief Peter Obi was the genesis of the protracted court cases bedeviling the association today.
He explained that Peter Obi had sued the BOT to court, clearly in breech of the provision of the ANLCA constitution that states that no member is permitted to go to court unless all internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the association has been exhausted.