By DAPO OLAWUNI
Leader of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in the West, Chief John Oforbike has said that the numerous court cases that has been instituted in the course of the crisis that engulfed the association four years ago cannot bring about lasting peace.
Oforbike in an interview with DAILY TREND on November 29th, 2022 also feared that ANLCA is already going the way of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) even as he urged the expired NECOM to apologize to the authentic BOT and allow peace to reign.
Our correspondent brings the concluding part of the chat
What is the next line of action for ANLCA, I read it somewhere, Chief Ozo Chukwura said in the course of a peaceful settlement, there was a suggestion of merger of the two Boards
Ozo Chukwura is just a jester, you cannot take him seriously. We are law abiding, the court said don’t parade yourself in office and we obeyed the law, and that was why they suspended us as members of NECOM, myself, Joe Sanni the National Publicity Secretary, Secretary of the zone, Bayo Oyekangun were suspended. When the court order came in, they asked us to say No, that we would not comply, but I gave the court order to my lawyer and he said the order is real, I didn’t want to contravene the court order and this was why I was suspended, they went to hold their fake NEC meeting, they later held kangaroo AGM to elect a fake Board, tell me, how would it work? They continued to rely on the slow judicial system in Nigeria. Imagine them going to Abeokuta, they were the plaintiff and the defendants, the Judge knows what they were doing, but instead of her to defend her honor, she said she has never seen in legal practice where the plaintiff and the defendants are same person, that was what she wrote before before issuing the judgement.
That judgement is being challenged, and somebody would go down for it, we have written against the lawyers but there was no address of the lawyers, it is a fraudulent judgement.
They went to deceive the corporate affairs commission in order to hide our file, but I have this adage that says that no matter how far lies can run, the truth would crawl and meet up with it, this is where we are now. The judgement that stops them from parading themselves, they took it from Badagry and took it to Appeal, for more than one year, the case was not registered, the case has been brought back to Badagry and the judge has fined them for violation, there are so many violations they committed up to N700,000, but they have not paid up till today.
They have discovered that Nigerian Judicial System is a dumping ground.
But the expired NECOM have refuted claims of their certificate of registration being withdrawn
Most of the people at CAC are lawyers, when they saw that they have shot themselves in the leg, they had to quickly reverse themselves, they have a website, if you are looking for any company now, you can go and search it out and know who are the directors of that company. The CAC would not write you to say they have withdraw what they gave to you. When INEC void any election, do they write you to return the certificate? The certificate becomes invalid, they give the right one to the winner, whatever you are still holding becomes invalid and untenable, if you tender it anywhere, you become a criminal.
So, they are still waiting for the CAC to write them that their certificate has been withdrawn?
Knowingly or Unknowingly, they are heading to five years in office because there was no election since April
It is on record that the former Board of Tony Iju which I was a member, ended on 16th of April, any person who is still holding on, is a jester. Tony Iju himself knew that his tenure has ended and he said he was going for study leave, and because Farinto is bent on answering “Mr President” he sold him that dummy, vehicle without documents, now he is just floating.
In the time of crisis, so many things are affected, even if we have not conducted another election, it doesn’t validate the tenure of people that have ended.
The truth is being unveiled, like I said,the CRFFN should release their report, they are in the eyes of the public, it is now going to four months.
Someone suggested that a clean sweep remains the answer to ANLCA Crisis, do you agree?
In an association there would always be crisis, but you cannot use poison to cure a sickness, anybody telling you about clean sweep is from their own side, this is because they cannot have the face to meet this Board and say Sorry. Now you want to bring people from heaven?
They are like the two women in the Bible who gave birth at night, one of them slept on her child and the child died. The other woman who was taking care of her own child, the wicked woman exchanged her baby for a dead child. She insisted that the living child should be shared into two.
I don’t see the court bringing permanent solution to this crisis
The problem here is to show remorse and say I am sorry, I have erred. What could have cost Bill Clinton his second term in office was the unholy affair he had with Monica Lewinsky, the opposition used it to nail one of the best American President, the man was already impeached at the lower house, but when he went live and apologized to Americans, to his family, and party members and to God almighty, immediately, the opinion polls turned, he said I am sorry, and that was all.
Now tell me, is it Farinto who have told Taiye Oyeniyi to retire and go back to the village to become a vegetable seller that would now apologize? Taiye Oyeniyi who brought him into the association and helped him? Is it Mukaila that I brought from the backyard where he was stamping SGD? I brought him into the association and he has betrayed everybody, he was the only sole candidate that didn’t have opposition in the election, both groups endorsed him, he would have been the one to be a bridge builder, but he is now the one instigating the crisis.
What is the implication of this crisis on your members and their profession?
The customs are meeting their target unchallenged, the method they are using, is anyone challenging them? Are they following the rules and regulations? The CGC Hameed Ali that was appointed, it was for him to go there and make money for government. A strike force which was set up by customs to be an adhoc arrangement has now become part of customs units. The FOU is still there but relegated, they have now created a customs Police who are now overlapping into the clearance of cargoes, they are supposed to discipline customs officers who flout orders, it is not to arrest agents or block the warehouse of the agents.
Is that what they do now?
Yes, and it is because we are having crisis, when ANLCA was still intact, if the association sneezes, everywhere catches Cold, today shipping companies no longer give back container deposits, you are the one that pays the bill from your pocket, but when it is time to refund, they will tell you they can only pay to the importer. All this is going on because we are in crisis.
The ANLCA crisis is also telling on the customs, the senior officers are asking us, what are you people doing, before now, the executive of ANLCA go to Abuja to hold meeting with the CGC and the Minister of Finance because we are part of the economy, but today, who are you to do that? The crisis is however benefitting some individuals.
What is your final message to the other gladiators in this crisis
Nobody is a looser, they should all come home, this present board are good people, they would accept them. Today, you can never see ANLCA complete at any function or event. The customs, and all other security agencies are having a field day, they are changing their cars because they are getting illegal money money, they are using phones worth N800,000 and how much is their salaries? But because of our crisis, nobody can talk again.
I have told them from beginning, if the court should give judgement, it doesn’t bring about a permanent solution, it is a grave yard peace, but when we come together and agree together, it would bring more love and we dine together, we host everybody and we all drop our weapons.
Where is PMAN today? They were going to court left and right, this is where ANLCA is heading now. I have spoken with all of them personally, but Henry Njoku and Peter Obi are somewhere remmoting them, Obi is working now to revive the IFFA, they are always holding meetings at Villa Park Hotel, because to weaken ANLCA is the gain of other associations. Henry Njoku is now the chairman of one exporters’ association.
In the course of this crisis, Oyinlola died, Aare Sanni Shittu died, in this crisis, Chairman of Ikorodu died, so many others have died and yet we have not come together, we don’t know who is going to die tomorrow. The Biafra war that lasted for more than three years did not end at the war front, it ended on the round table, and today we have one Nigeria. A war must have an end. So many people have been approaching the minister and asking for ANLCA to be proscribed, the moment we come together and eat together in one plate, we would tell ourselves the truth, ANLCA does not issue bill of laden, now our people are scattered and suffering.