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Constitution amendment may stoke fresh crisis in ANLCA

Tony Nwabunike, ANLCA President
—–as  tenure of Nwabunike-led NECOM extended
Eyewitness reporter
A fresh crisis may erupt in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) over the ratification of the amended version of the constitution of the association which elongates the tenure of the National Officers.
As a way to stem the endemic crisis in ANLCA which has perpetually pitted the association’s Board of Trustees (BOT) against the National Executive Council, the Tony Iju Nwabunike- led ANLCA carried out an amendment of the constitution of the association at its Owerri AGM/NEC meeting in 2020.
Significantly, the amendment covers some sections on the tenure of the National Officers and BOT members.
Specifically, the four-year tenure of the members of the NECOM and three- year tenure of the chapter executives were extended by one year.
Under the amended constitution, the President and other members of NECOM will spend one single term of five years in office instead of the former two- terms of four years while the chapter executives will instead of renewable three-year tenure now spend a single term of four years.
On the other hand, the BOT members, whom sources said the amendment was targeted at, have their former two- terms of six years pegged at one term of six years.
The BOT members were also stripped of some of their powers, especially on the conduct of elections in the association.
However, our reporter gathered that the new amendment, as desirable as it may be, may further plunge the association into a fresh crisis.
It was gathered that some of the members, especially members of the camp opposed to the Nwabunike- led administration, are questioning the rationale behind the decision of the present NECOM members to benefit from the tenure elongation.
They regarded the decision to commence the implementation of the amended constitution from the present executives as a ploy to elongate their tenure.
“It is sheer greed and subtle attempt at tenure elongation for this present executive of the association to benefit from the expanded years of tenure in office as espoused by the amended constitution.
“If they are sincere, which I doubt, they should have allowed the implementation of the new amendment to commence from the next executives while they finish their own tenure and leave office honourably.
“After all, they were at the twilight of their administration when this amendment was made,”  an aggrieved member told our reporter.
It would be recalled that ANLCA has been bedeviled with intractable crises since the beginning of the tenure of the present NECOM led by Nwabunike in March 2018.
All efforts to quell the insurrection, which has effectively polarised the association into two opposing camps, have been futile.
Observers believe that the implementation of the amended constitution which commences with the present NECOM of ANLCA, is likely to further exacerbate the malignant crisis.
At its emergency National Executive Council (NEC), meeting held on Monday at the national secretariat of the association in Lagos,  the amended version of the Association’s Constitution which elongate the tenure of the NECOM members, including the President, from four years to five years, was presented to the members amidst commendation.

The ANLCA’s amended consitution, 2020 effected on sections 8 (a), 13(d), number 6 and Section 22 (c,d).

However, in his opening address, the President of ANLCA, Nwabunike informed the association’s NEC members who came in from all sections of the country that ANLCA, will implement the yearning of its members and that of the constitution to the letter without fear or favour.

Nwabunike, who was represented by the Vice President of ANLCA, Kayode Farinto, reiterated that the present regime in the association is the only administration that has stuck to the strict compliance of the association’s constitution, saying that it is the way to go for any association to survive.

According to the new amendments, Section 8: TENURE OF OFFICE OF OFFICERS, the older version reads: Unless as may be otherwise provided in any part of this Constitution (a) Every officer, to whom this Constitution applies, elected or appointed with the National President, shall vacate office at the expiration of FOUR (4) calendar years, while the Chapter vacates at the expiration of THREE (3) calendar years dating from the date of assumption of office of incumbent executives.

“Any such officer may be nominated to contest for re-election for another term of four or three year’s tenure depending whether it is a national or chapter office. PROVIDED ALWAYS that he or she shall not hold the same office for more than two terms.

While the new AMENDED VERSION 2020 reads: Unless as may be otherwise provided in any part of this Constitution (a) Every officer, to whom this Constitution applies, elected or appointed with the National President, shall vacate office at the expiration of FIVE (5) calendar years, while the Chapter vacates at the expiration of FOUR (4) calendar years dating from the date of assumption of office of incumbent executives, PROVIDED ALWAYS that he or she shall not hold the same office for more than one term.

SECTION 13:BOARD OF TRUSTEES
NUMBER 5: FUNCTIONS (d) the old Constitution states ” Appoint members of the Association Electoral Commission to be ratified by the National Executive Council and monitor all elections”

NUMBER 6:TENURE: ” A trustee shall hold office for a term of six (6) years unless re-elected. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a member of the board shall be removed if,.

While the new AMENDED VERSION 2020 reads, SECTION 13:BOARD OF TRUSTEES, number 5: FUNCTIONS (d) ” Recommend members of the Association Electoral Commission
(ASECO) to be ratified by the National Executive Council and monitor all elections”.

NUMBER 6:TENURE: ” A trustee shall hold office for a term of six (6) years, PROVIDED ALWAYS that he/she shall not hold office for more than one term.

While in Section 22 of the amended Constitution 2020, the Association further reduces the powers of the board on election matters which is believed to be the persistent bickering and infighting between the National Executive and the BOT.

In the old Constitution under SECTION 22, ELECTIONS (c) A body to be known as the Association Election Commission (ASECO) is hereby established. Its members shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees to conduct the elections. ASECO shall in collaboration with BOT have the powers to fix the election fees and timetable.

On the contrary, the AMENDED VERSION 2020 (c) states – The election Commission (hereafter referred to as ASECO) shall have a Chairman who shall be the RETURNING OFFICER.

With the successful amendment of the ANLCA Supreme Constitution, the Tony Nwabunike led NECOM of ANLCA has recorded another milestone in repositioning the foremost Customs Brokers association in Nigeria for an effective and efficient leadership structure.

Some chieftains of the association also believed that with the holistic amendment of the contentious sections of the Association’s Constitution which often pitch the Executives against the board, most of the crises in the ANLCA will be over.

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Farinto urges Customs brokers to mobilise 5m votes for  presidential candidate who is freight forwarders- friendly

Kayode Farinto, Ag, Pre4sident, ANLCA
Eyewitness reporter
Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has enjoined freight forwarders to use their votes to bring in a government that has a passion for the welfare of freight forwarders in Nigeria.
The ANLCA chieftain made this call Monday in his May Day/ Sallah message to the freight forwarders confraternity.
Farinto, who bemoaned the harassment and intimidation the freight forwarders are being subjected to under the outgoing government in terms of multiple charges, levies and extortions, urged the oppressed customs brokers to use their PVCs to bring in a presidential candidate who will end the misery and sufferings of freight forwarders.
Consequently, he asked that the freight forwarders should mobilise at least five million votes in the maritime industry for a presidential candidate among the legion of contenders who will work for the welfare of customs brokers.
“The inconsistency in government policies is an eye-opener and we will enjoin our members to give the over five million votes in the industry to a presidential candidate that will be explicit on how to assist the Freight forwarding profession viz a viz implementation of people’s welfare policies their support and endorsements come 2023.
Farinto said the present government has shown a lack of empathy for the suffering and harassed freight forwarders who are even overburdened with all manner of charges in the face of an economic crunch.
“We won’t allow anyone to fool us like this outgoing government is doing.
“We are gradually losing our profession to foreign domination courtesy of lack of law that will protect indigenous practitioners”, he lamented.
While urging the freight forwarders to brace up for the reintroduction of the revised Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy this month, the ANLCA Chief warned them to be on their guard against people who may wish to compromise the process to the detriment of freight forwarders.
“Let me commence by saying that, it is obvious that the NCS will be implementing the VIN VALUATION this month, going by the news filtering around us in the industry and we need to monitor this because people will not want the process to be successful may introduce things outside our agreement into the procedures”
“I have released the agreed procedures on clearance of Standard Chassis vehicles that fall within VIN valuation and Non-Standard chassis vehicles,salvage, and accidented vehicles a few days ago.
 “We need to allow these new changes going by all we go through in the hands of customs various units to clear vehicles in the ports”
He recounted the horrific process of a clearance procedure, especially of vehicles, which he said is laced with extortions by the Customs
 “Even when you take your valuation, many alerts are put on our declarations and it takes the grace of God and difficult conditions to get them out of the ports.
“As if that is not enough, you need to know the numbers of calls we receive from our members delivering these vehicles within and outside the Lagos environment.
“Many customs units will say, your values are compromised, it must be jacked up and many of us are at their mercies pleading that DN should not be issued on already exited vehicles.
“This and many more things are what we believe The VIN valuation will eliminate.
“Many agents have been given forged and mutilated valuation papers by the third parties and are left to suffer the consequences of whatever happens.
“We do not need all this to get our vehicles released and we promise to challenge any command that may want to use the office of monitoring to extort money from our members when this new process commences.
The ANLCA Acting President also promised that the controversial issue of the National Automotive Council (NAC) 15 percent level will be pursued to its logical conclusion through the involvement of the national assembly and the instrumentality of the soon to be inaugurated Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“The issue of 15 percent NAC turn levy will be pursued vigorously immediately after the Sallah break
because we will engage the National Assembly on the need for them to know that, this government is not sensitive to the plight of the masses to have introduced a levy at this period when the economy is in comatose.
” And we will also ensure that the Federal Ministry of Finance is dragged before the people’s representatives on this matter.
“Since the CRFFN governing council may also be inaugurated this week, it will be our first issue to be raised at the plenary which needs urgent national attention.
“All our efforts to eliminate NAC turn levy is being done in collaboration with the motor dealers association”
Farinto however said that before these lofty objectives of the leadership of the freight forwarders could be achieved, the members of the confraternity must be united to achieve their common goal.
“We must however come together to achieve greatness. An injury to one should be an injury to all” he declared.
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