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Freight Monitor

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.

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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Freight Monitor

Prince Nwokeabia rallies support for Comptroller Ukpanah, CAC Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi\command, as she assumes office 

Prince Nwokeabia,
 The Eyewitness Reporter
The Chairman of the Enugu chapter of the Association of  Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Alex Nwokeabia, has rallied the support of his members and other stakeholders in the chapter for the new Customs Area Controller of  Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command, Compt. Comfort Senas Ukpanah as she assumed duty in the command.
In his congratulatory message to the new controller, Prince Nwokeabia, while welcoming Comptroller Ukpanah to the Enugu Customs Command, expressed confidence in the capacity of the new CAC to further drive the command to new heights of success.
The freight forwarder, who described the new CAC as a thoroughbred Customs officer who rose through the rank, believed that Comptroller Ukpanah would consolidate and surpass the achievements so far recorded in the command.
Prince Nwokeabia, while congratulating the new CAC on her deployment to the command, assured her of the readiness of the members of the Enugu ANLCA to support and work for the success of her tenure.
”I, Prince Alex Nwokeabia, on behalf of all the members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Enugu Chapter, welcome our new Area Controller,  Comptroller Comfort Senas Ukpanah, to her new post and wish her a successful tenure.
“The Enugu ANLCA wishes to assure her of our unflinching support and readiness to work with her and her team to ensure the successful implementation of her mandate” the ANLCA Chieftain declared.
Comptroller Ukpanah assumed office as the new Customs Area Controller of Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command on Friday 15th September, 2023.

 She took over from Comptroller AM Adegbite who was re-deployed to Edo/Delta Area Command.

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Freight Monitor

Customs offers hands of fellowship to new ANLCA leadership , as Adeniyi congratulates Nwokeoji on his election

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, has expressed the willingness of the Service to collaborate with the new leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) under the leadership of Emenike Nwokeoji, in a bid to advance the customs brokerage sector and promote the interests of customs agents throughout Nigeria.
In his congratulatory message to the new ANLCA president, Adeniyi said his election was a reflection of the confidence the members of the association have in him.
While lauding the noble role that members of the Customs Consultative Council played in brokering peace in the war-torn association which eventually led to the conduct of a peaceful election, the customs boss said he was eagerly waiting for a productive partnership with the association.
Adeniyi however expressed confidence that Mr. Nwokeoji will provide solid and visionary leadership to ANLCA while working closely with the Nigeria Customs Service to enhance the collaboration between the two organizations.
“On behalf of the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi congratulates Mr Emenike Nwokeoji on his election as the National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)”
After five years of bickering and bitter rivalry that polarised the oldest freight forwarding group in Nigeria into factions, including several botched attempts to broker a truce, the much elusive peace eventually located the troubled association on September 7th, 2023, when an election, which outcome was accepted by all the factions, was held and Nwokeoji emerged as the president of the unified ANLCA.
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Freight Monitor

Freight Forwarders threaten to shut down ports over alarming rate of extortions by maritime police.

Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun
The Eyewitness Reporter
The freight forwarders plying their trade at the Lagos ports are currently in a restive mood over what they claimed was the barefaced extortions, harassment, and intimidation by the maritime police.
The aggrieved customs brokers, in their petition to the new Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, have therefore threatened to withdraw their services if the excesses of these police officers are not checked.
In a four-page protest letter signed by Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the 100 percent Compliance team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF),  addressed to the IGP and dated August 22, 2023, the irate customs brokers said the activities of these police officers have considerably impeded facilitation of trade.
In the petition, Tanko Ibrahim, who is also an elected member of the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), claimed these officers, in connivance with the shipping companies, indiscriminately stop and detain exited containers from the ports with the purpose of extorting money from the owners.
Tanko, who said these extortionist activities of the police were curtailed under the past administration of police IG due to the outcry of the oppressed freight forwarders, lamented that the menace has now resurgent with new vigour, as the police now carry out their extortions in the open.
“Since the advent of the new administration, the officers and men of the Maritime Police have not only resumed these activities but also even more daring.
“They do not only block the release of containers from shipping companies, but they also arrest and detain containers on the roads, and even allegedly go into fisticuffs with the officers of the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service”
The petitioners however fingered one of the officers whom they said was daring and boastful of his nefarious activities.
“To compound and confound the matter, one of their officers, named Superintendent Kenneth  Uwakool, who has been at Kam Salem House for more than three years, when the rapprochement was reached during the last administration, is the unrepentant bagman, who openly boasts that he is a millionaire.
“He sits atop proceedings in the extortion business’ the petitioners declared.
In the petition, each copy of which was sent to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members of the National Assembly, and all the security agencies, Tanko Ibrahim, who ventilated the foul mood of the angry freight forwarders, claimed that the marauding police officers collect as high as N2m to N3m from their victims on each container before they let them go.
The petitioners wondered where were these officers when the Customs, in collaboration with other sister agencies, arrest containers with drugs, arms, and ammunition, accusing them of looking the other way while these illicit goods are being ferried away understand their noses.
He however appealed for prompt intervention of the new IGP in order to calm the frayed nerves of the harassed freight forwarders to starve off an impending showdown with the extortionist police officers.
“We, therefore, respectfully urge you, sir, to call the Maritime Police to order and save the ports from an imminent restiveness that may paralyze business activities and further cause economic loss to government revenue.
“We may have no option than to go on protest which may result in a possible shutdown of the seaports” the aggrieved freight forwarders threatened.
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