In March 2018, the association held its elections which ushered in a new National Executive Council led by Tony Iju Nwabunike who emerged as the President with a slim margin over his rival, Emenike Nwokeoji.
The following month, April, elections were also held into the Board of Trustees of the Association.
Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha was said to have defeated the incumbent, Chief Henry Njoku who was said to have been on the seat for over 10 years.
Chief Njoku was said to have rejected the outcome of the elections and refused to vacate the seat, allegedly emboldened by the tacit support of the President of the Association, Tony Nwabunike.
In the intervening period, the association has witnessed interplay of intrigues, intense political horse-trading, brit-bats, accusations and counter-accusations, blame-trading, name -callings, and mud-slinging which culminated in polarisation and eventual splitting of the association.
The unfolding drama suggests that the crisis is far from being over.
Our emotion was made poignant by the damage this intractable crisis has done to the integrity of the players in the freight forwarding profession.
ANLCA was established in 1954 and has come to define the freight forwarding practice in the country.
All other freight forwarding associations owe their existence to this great body.
As a result, ANLCA has become a reference point for professionalism, orderliness, organisational abilities, and internal democracy that it has earned as a result of long years of existence.
However, all these attributes may have gone up in smoke and filtered away on the altar of greed, ego and self-preservation.
Yes, we believe this avoidable crisis was sparked off by individual greed and personal aggrandizement, the inordinate attributes of those who are hell-bent on plunging ANLCA into an endless war of attrition.
We believe that a leader who is desirous of serving his people would not want to do so at the detriment of the corporate existence of the platform on which he wishes to serve.
Neither will he do so at the expense of the same people he wishes to serve.
The Eyewitness news views the raging crisis in ANLCA as needless and inordinate which has exposed the selfish intentions of the gladiators.
We are in no doubt that the founding fathers and other past leaders of ANLCA who had worked tirelessly to build this association into a great and virile body would wince at the level of corrosive effect the action of the present leadership has had on the association.
Our fear is further heightened by the fact that the gladiators are still at the throats of one another, as we write.
A factional group led by the Western Zonal Coordinator of the association, John Oforbike, and buoyed by Alhaji Mustapha whom it has loyalty for, purportedly excised the Western Zone, comprising Apapa, Tin Can Island, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Seme, Idiroko, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal and PTML chapters from the main association, while electing Emenike Nwokeoji as their President and vowing not to recognise Nwabunike as their President.
The Executive Council, in a counter move, suspended all the chapter chairmen, as well as few members of the National Executive members suspected to have sympathy for the break-away group and Oforbike, who is the rally point for the splinter group while replacing them with a caretaker committee.
The suspended members dared the National Executives, saying they remained immovable while warning the then caretaker committee members to steer clear.
It was a battle of wit and a stand-off between the two groups which is threatening to further plunge the association into a deeper crisis if nothing is done.
The signs are ominous and it is only the quick intervention of the past leaders of the association that could stave off what could be a great conflagration that could consume the 67-year old freight forwarding group.
It is as a result of this we call on the well-meaning leaders of the association to intervene in this needless battle of supremacy before the legacy they bequeathed on the present crop of leaders and members goes up in flame.
We also want to appeal to the National President of the association, Nwabunike, to rise up to the occasion and take a decisive step to douse the tension.
It is said that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.
Unfortunately, while these shenanigans are going on, members who are supposed to be served are now like sheep without a shepherd, left unattended to while the freight forwarding profession which the leadership is supposed to protect and edify is being desecrated by this avoidable and needless crisis.
We, therefore, appeal to the warring parties to sheathe their swords in the interest of peace and the well-being of members they were elected to serve and in the larger interest of the freight forwarding profession.
They should allow the collective interests of members to override their own personal interests.
That is the hallmark of responsible and responsive leadership.
Our appeal is predicated on our concerns that as long as this “mud-fight” continues, it will bring public odium to the oldest freight forwarding group in Nigeria.
The gladiators should therefore end this public show of their naked dance in the market square which is embarrassing to the well-meaning stakeholders, the founding fathers of the association, and stakeholders generally.
Editorial! The incursion of Chinese into Nigeria’s revenue vault.
The ubiquitous Chinese is gradually getting a foothold in the nation’s economy.
On May 30th, 2022, the controversial concession of the Nigeria Customs Service was consummated at the national headquarters of the service in Abuja.
Despite the outcry of stakeholders against the concession of the operations of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Federal Government signed a tripartite concession agreement with a Chinese company, Huawei Technologies, and their Nigerian counterparts, Trade Modernisation Project Limited with Africa Finance Corporation as the lead financiers.
The agreement was facilitated and midwifed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC).
The concessionaires, under the agreement, will drive the modernisation project for 20 years.
Last Monday’s consummation of the concession agreement was preceded by the approval granted by the Federal Government in September 2020 to concede the operations of the customs to concessionaires
The concession agreement, which spans a period of 20 years, will involve the modernisation of the processes and procedures of the Nigeria Customs Service, including its revenue generation which the concessionaires will take over through which they are to recoup their $3.2 billion investments.
Expectedly, the decision of the Federal government, which was clinically executed in the mould of a coup d’é tat, caught many industry stakeholders pants down.
It also generated animated discussion as the approval and eventual concession was granted in defiance to the popular wish of the operators.
Since 2019, when the industry got wind of this concession deal before the 2020 approval, there has been concerted opposition mounted by the aghast operators who felt the move was an attempt to give away our common patrimony to the foreign interests.
Then, Hon. Jerry Alagbaso, a former Customs chief and erstwhile member of the House of Representatives, rallied the National Assembly against the move.
But to the chagrin of everyone, the Federal government pulled a fast one on all the antagonists of the project.
We are less disconcerted over this concession deal which we believe was willing away the nation’s cash cow for 20 years to the foreign imperialists and their local collaborators.
We are at a loss on which powerful forces could have forced the hands of the Federal government to enter into this type of deal against the popular counsel of knowledgeable stakeholders.
Modernisation of Customs, they said.
What is there to modernise in the processes and procedures of the Nigeria Customs Service?
At the risk of being controverted, we dare say the Nigeria Customs has the most advanced form of automation process among the government agencies in the industry and one of the most automated in Africa.
The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene said as much when he visited Apapa Customs command last week.
Mr. Mene said Nigeria Customs has the most advanced and comprehensive automation programme among its peers in Africa.
The only challenge which the service has is human.
Some of the men and officers of the service are clearly aversed to full automation due to their selfish and pecuniary interests.
The automation process will eliminate human contacts which is the avenue for extortion and exploitation.
Since 2003, Nigeria Customs has gone through a series of automation processes that have made its processes and procedures seamless.
The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and its advanced form of ASYCUDA+, ASYCUDA++, the Nigeria Customs Integrated System (NCIS1 &11), and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) are some of the automation platforms created by the customs management over the years to make customs operations seamless.
Even, in 2013, the Service developed a web-based application to provide information and guidelines for international trade business processors, export and transit trade which is called Nigeria trade Portal which is interactive.
To our mind, what the service needs is to upgrade these automated platforms, and integrate them with other players in the cargo documentation and clearance chains under the neglected single window project.
With adequate capital outlay, we believe Nigeria Customs can achieve full automation status without the involvement of foreign economic imperialists, aided and abetted by their avaricious local collaborators.
The anti- automation officers, who are averred to technology due to their selfish interests, could be reformed.
If they are adamant, they could be shipped out.
Cargo scanning could be emphasised while physical examination of cargoes could be sparingly used.
With these and all other automation platforms well integrated into the single-window under the supervision of a willing Customs administration, the Nigeria Customs will be a world-class agency.
We are however least surprised at the tenacity of these economic vultures in their quest to lay hands on the Nigeria Customs Service, which is gradually emerging as the cash cow of the nation.
Apart from oil, maritime is the second-highest revenue earner for the country and Nigeria Customs plays a key role in this regard.
With the yearly earnings in the excess of a conservative estimate of trillions of naira and the capacity to do more, as well as the dwindling earnings from oil due to the global crisis in the oil market, the maritime industry nay Nigeria Customs is understandably the preferred bride for these economic speculators.
Various attempts have been made in the past to dip their hands in the Customs’ till without success.
In 2011, the illegal concession of Customs key functions between the ministry of finance and a company called Single Window System and Technologies was shot down.
In 2017, another move for Customs modernisation was made by the technical committee on the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme(CISS) which was pretentiously acting on behalf of the Federal government, with a technical partner called Adani system Nigeria limited.
The attempt, which sought to concession the Customs then for 25 years, was frustrated.
However, in a blatant disregard for popular opinion, the Federal government, after several failed attempts, eventually forced down the throat of the unwilling stakeholders, the concession of the agency.
However, the deeds have been done.
Any further lamentation by the stakeholders on the issue is crying over spilled milk.
Now that the government has had its way, we can only hope that its aspirations for the concession will be realised.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the government stands to realise $176 billion from the project without spending a Kobo.
The question is how much will the concessionaires realise within the 20- year period of the deal beyond the $3.2billion investments they are expected to sink into the project?
What would be the fate of the customs officers whose jobs will be affected by the take-over of the revenue functions of the agency?
Even though the Comptroller General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali, has allayed the fear of job loss, the redundancy of some categories of officers could not be totally ruled out.
It is instructive to note that one of the two core functions of the customs, which is revenue generation, has now been concessioned under the guise of this new modernisation project, leaving them with the anti-smuggling function.
We hope rather than render some crop of officers reductant which may lead to possible right-sizing of staff, they could be redeployed to beef up the anti-smuggling function of the service.
We are worried about the involvement of the Chinese in the project as represented by Huawei which serves as a technical partner.
The ubiquitous Chinese have gradually become a leech on Nigeria, sucking on the economy of the nation.
We can only hope that the modernisation project will leave the Nigeria Customs service better than it met it.
We equally hope the project will not be sabotaged by disgruntled insiders whose means of livelihood is being threatened.
The misadventure of the Professional Import Duty Administrators (PIDA) between 1996 and 2000 in the Nigeria Customs Service is still poignant in the memory of those who were in the know.
At that period, a firm of an accounting/consultant was engaged as professional Import Duty Administrators to complement the Nigeria Customs Service in the task of revenue generation.
They left the service worst off than they met it.
We appeal to the Federal government to ensure that this project transforms the service into a technologically-driven agency whose operations are seamless and paperless.
Editorial! Chairmanship of CRFFN: Mortgaging the Freight Forwarding industry
“Following Chibuike Amaechi’s imposition of one Alhaji Tsanni as chairman of the governing council, Amaechi’s action, contrary to the legal provisions of the CRFFN Act as regards the position of chairman and vice-chairman, has automatically placed the Council on the precipice.”
“It is absolute disregard of the rule of law. It’s not even healthy for the political future of Mr. President (Buhari).
The Gradual Decapitation of Shippers’ Council under Jime.
Customs4 weeks ago
Finally, FG concessions operations of Customs to Chinese, Nigerian company for 20 years.
Customs4 weeks ago
Customs loses Compt. Danlami Haruna, Area Controller Bauchi/Gombe Command
Customs2 months ago
Exclusive! Mass retirement hits Customs as 549 officers bow out of service in 2023
Customs2 months ago
Customs High Command interdicts officers over assault on Gov. Okonwa’s aide
Customs4 weeks ago
Terrorists overrun Customs Post in Katsina
Customs1 month ago
Court orders Customs to pay ₦100m compensation over gruesome murder of peasant farmer in Kebbi state