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Freight Monitor

ANLCA crisis festers as BOT sacks Tony Iju- led NECOM

ANLCA secretariat, the bone of contention

 

—– Farinto kicks, denies parallel EXCO
—-Eastern Zone rejects interim arrangement

The Eyewitness reporter

There seems not to be an end to the malignant crisis rocking the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) as the acclaimed oldest freight forwarding association has once again been plugged into another fresh crisis.
This followed the takeover of the secretariat and the sacking of the Tony Iju- led  National Executive by the Board of trustees (BOT).
The fragile peace accord between the two warring factions fighting for the soul of the association broke down which led to renewed hostility.
The Taiwo Mustapha- led BOT who, sacked the NECOM, accused the dissolved exco of the sit-tight syndrome, saying the tenure of the dissolved executive members expired on 16th April 2022.
Speaking at the association’s secretariat, the Board of Trustees chairman, Taiwo Mustapha, however, announced an interim management team led by Pius Ujubonu.According to Mustapha, the tenure of the dissolved executive committee of the association expired on the 16th of April, 2022 and has, therefore, created a vacuum in the association’s leadership.

“We have been on this for the last four years and it’s pathetic that we have stayed so long on it.

“From today, (Wednesday), I want to say on behalf of board members, that the association shall be well.

” Whatever happens to the association lies with the BoT. We decide to take it easy going through all peaceful moves for peace to return to ANLCA but to no avail.”

“The climax of it was when the secretariat was locked for five weeks. We spoke and we met with the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and the Commissioner of Police.

” The CP appointed the Area commander to midwife a truce and we are prepared for it, in fact, we are ready to shift ground for a win-win but they reneged from their side.

“Now, I have pronounced that the National Executive Council of the association has remained dissolved and the Owerri convention where the association’s constitution was purportedly amended remains null and void.

“The BoT is empowered to run the association for six months but we will create an interim committee for one month or as at when time permits so that they can conduct an election for the new executive.”

The interim executive as announced by the BoT chairman is, Pius Ujobonu as acting president; Jamiu Adeyinka as acting Vice president and Joe Sanni as acting secretary.

Others are, “Francis Ituah as acting publicity Secretary; Waheed Gbadamosi as acting Financial Secretary and Alhaji Usman as the acting Treasurer of the association.

However, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President in the dissolved NECOM, dismissed the purported dissolution.
He denied any existing parallel executives in the association.
He claimed that the alleged takeover of the secretariat was done in the absence of the NECOM members whom he claimed were away on a courtesy visit to the Lekki seaport.
Farinto described the activities that took place at the national secretariat as the handiwork of expelled members who refused to leave after being expelled by the National Executives Committee (NEC).
The Acting National President also bemoaned the attitude of the commissioner of Police in Lagos state to the crisis rocking the association, noting that the commissioner is culpable and needs to explain his role in the association crisis.
“What you are seeing in ANLCA is political shenanigans by cantankerous old men who refused to leave the association after being expelled.  These are expelled members of our former board, they are no more members of ANLCA for now and unfortunately, we were on national assignment when we learnt that they have encroached into the national secretariat and forcefully taken over the secretariat, breaking the padlocks and keys.
“The interesting thing is that we have Police on guard in that place, so we want to know the reason, we want to know whether the police are culpable because this is a surprise to me.
“But there is nothing to worry about, the expelled members, they are not members of ANLCA and it is not me that expelled them,  it was NEC, I don’t know why a part of the body will say it doesn’t belong to the body.
”It’s unfortunate that the West has been like this, but I can assure you that this will be the last war that will root out these people who refuse to leave.
“A man of 75years parading himself as a member of the board, what’s he looking for, he has spent 12 years on the board as at the time his tenure expired, but tomorrow(today) we are taking over our secretariat back.”
Similarly, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Eastern Zone has allegedly condemned the takeover of the secretariat by Mustapha-led BOT while dissociating itself from the action.
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Freight Monitor

Freight forwarders drag Web Fontaine to Finance minister over incessant breakdown of Customs server

— lament loss of N193m daily to inefficiency of the service provider
 
The eyewitness reporter
Freight forwarders plying their trade at the Lagos ports have dragged the Web Fontaine, an IT solution provider, to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, over the incessant breakdown of Customs server.
It should be noted that Web Fontaine is the service provider for the customs automation programme which drives the customs operations, especially its trade portal through which the trading public such as importers, and freight forwarders interface with the customs.
However, the server, that powers this trade portal, has been experiencing incessant system failure which has hobbled clearing procedures at the ports.
Unable to bear the delays and attendant cost implications occasioned by this breakdown, agitated freight forwarders, under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), have cried out to the Finance minister for his quick intervention.
Ventilating the agony of the freight forwarders under this circumstance, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the 100 percent compliance team of NAGAFF, the anti-corruption arm of the association, in his letter to the minister, complained about the incalculable damage which the frequent server break down has caused freight forwarders in particular and the nation in general.
In the letter dated May 8th, 2024 and copied to relevant government and security agencies, and customs committees in the National Assembly, Tanko bemoaned the trade disruption and huge demurrage occasioned by the breakdown.
According to him, the freight forwarders incur a daily loss of N192m through the payment of mounting demurrages brazenly charged by shipping companies and terminal operators.
“The Honorable sir, we as stakeholders and users of the customs servers are going through a lot in the hands of our teeming customers, shipping companies and terminal operators.
“This is so as the terminal Operators charge the sum of #62,000.00 (sixty-two thousand naira) per day.
“The Shipping companies charge #58,000.00 (fifty-eight thousand naira) per day.
“For instance sir, we have an average of 1,600 containers trapped by the server failure in each of the ports of Apapa, TinCan, PTML and Kirikiri Lighter terminal respectively, with an estimated sum of #192,000,000(One hundred and ninety-two million naira) being lost daily.
“Where this sum is multiplied by more than two thousand containers that are equally denied exit from off dock terminals, due to the server failure/breakdown, the consequential effect is better imagined than experienced.
” This had been a recurring decimal over time with the customs service provider, namely, WEB FONTAINE.
The agonized freight forwarders however advocated for a review of the contract of the service provider in view of the frequent server breakdown.
“Sir, it is now being alleged that a new outfit or new service provider has been appointed to replace the WEB FONTAINE.
“If that is the case, Honorable sir, we respectfully call for a total review of their contract for the circumstance and situation have degenerated to an unbearable state.
“We are taken aback as to why such outfit that has over time manifested gross incompetence is hired and allowed to oversee such critical infrastructure of the Nigeria customs service”
The petitioners called for urgent attention and intervention of the minister in a bid to stave off brewing anger and crisis as agitated freight forwarders are already pushed to the wall and may react any time soon.
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Freight Monitor

ANLCA crisis festers as Emenike insists on removing elected Airport Chapter Exco

—Bamgbala Adewusi cries for justice
The Eyewitness Reporter 
There seems to be no end to the fresh crisis in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) triggered by the purported but illegal removal of the elected Executive members of the Murtala Mohammed Airport chapter of the association by Nwekeoji Emenike, the National President of the association.
Rather than defer to the police intervention and counsel to let the status quo remain until all legal matters on the issues are resolved, our reporter gathered that Emenike is bent on carrying out what was described as a coup de grace as he has allegedly ordered the lawyer handling the matter at the court of appeal to hands off the case.
This was despite the self-denial by the ANLCA President that he was not responsible for the purported removal of  Prince BAMGBALA ADEWUSI as Chapter chairman in the Airport chapter.
Chief Emenike has also exonerated himself from the appointment of new chapter Executives at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Cargo Chapter, saying it was the court that made Mr Akindele Pius Tope Chairman, but that the last NECOM had refused to inaugurate him.
To perpetrate his stance on making sure the current Chairman,  Prince BAMGBALA ADEWUSI  vacates the office by fire by force, the ANLCA National President has written to the legal team of D.A. Awosika & Partners to hand off the appeal case pending in the court which the ANLCA BOT has hired to defend.
In over  41 pages of different documents, including court papers sighted by our reporter, the embattled Airport Chairman,  Prince Bamgbala Adewusi and other Executives said though the Police have maintained their stance for the Status quo to remain pending determination of the case in the appeal court, the ANLCA National President is using all antics, including blackmailing the Police to install his alleged stooge.
EMENIKE LATEST LETTER TO BARR. D.A. AWOSIKA TO WITHDRAW FROM A CASE INSTITUTED BY ANLCA BOT :
 In a letter written on 2nd May 2024, addressed to D.A. Awosika  & Partners LLP and attentioned  Barr. D. A. Awosika SAN, received on the 9th May 2024, the National President of ANLCA, Emenike  Nwokeoji has instructed the lawyer to withdraw from a case.
The letter titled ” Instruction to withdraw Suite NO: CA/LAG/CU/1045/23 Pending in Court of Appeal between ANLCA & ORS V. Alhaji Lasisi Fanu Bisiriyu & ORS”
“We refer to the above, furthermore, we wish to instruct you to immediately withdraw the suit which your firm is currently prosecuting at the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Association.
“The defendant therein is the current National Executive Committee of the Association and does not wish to continue the suit.
” From the foregoing, we will be pleased to have the process for the withdrawal of the Appeal expedited. We thank you for your services to our Association”
The letter was signed by both Emenike  Nwokeoji, National President and  Olumide Fakunlu, National Secretary.
The explanation from the above letter is that the National President is asking the lawyer handling the Appeal instituted by the BOT to contest the alleged illegal chapter elections conducted by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, where both Alhaji Lasisi Fanu, then at Seme Border and  Akindele Pius Tope,  now allegedly installed by Emenike to become the chapter Chairman of MMAC.
The case which was instituted at Badagry High Court has since gone to the  Appeal Court.
Just like the incumbent Chairman Prince Bamgbala Adewusi and Bola Ashiru case which is in Appeal Court.
Our findings have also revealed that, according to the ANLCA Constitution, the NECOM has no such powers to withdraw a case, except the BOT and in this case, it was the BOT that instituted the case with a stay of execution at the Appeal Court.
Watchers of ANLCA events wondered if these facts are true, then why was the NECOM, led by Emenike Nwokeoji,  was urging the lawyer to withdraw from the case?
Also, commentators queried that if the Tope Akindele case is on Appeal, just as Adewusi case, why was the ANLCA National President bent on installing a candidate that did not go through a legally conducted chapter election in accordance with the ANLCA Constitution? More so when matter is still in Appeal.
TOPE AKINDELE WITHDRAWAL OF CASE AND APOLOGY :
In another document sighted by our Reporter, a letter written with the letterhead paper of GREEN STAR LINE LTD, a company  allegedly  owned by Akindele Pius Tope, who
wrote a letter dated 14th September 2021, addressed to the then National President of ANLCA, Iju Tony Nwabunike, reads:
“Ref: suit NO: BD/3134 GCM/2019, I Temitope Pius Akindele  (Managing Director) of the above-named company do hereby exonerate/ withdraw myself from the above suit NO, henceforth.
” I sincerely appreciated the efforts of NECOM by giving me a total pardon at the NEC meeting held on 06th September 2021 where the issue was raised,  at the end of deliberations.
“Now on the apology letter, 39 voted in favour of my apology letter, while none were against my pardon. Glory be to God.
” Furthermore I also reaffirm my commitment with our great association to move forward. Great ANLCA, Great Professionals”.
The letter was signed by Akindele Pius Tope.
Again the understanding of this letter, sources said, was that the same Akindele Pius Tope, who wrote this letter on 14th September 2021, committing himself to have withdrawn from the suit and apologized to the NEC, is the same Tope Akindele that have resurfaced in 2024  to be sworn- in as the Chairman of the MMAC chapter, even though the matter is in Appeal Court.
HOW BAMGBALA ADEWUSI AND OTHERS  WON THE MMAC CHAPTER ELECTION IN 2022
The election into the Murtala Mohammed Airport Cargo Chapter was held on 15th January 2022 at the Police College, Ikeja Lagos State.
After a series of horse-trading and postponements, the Association Electoral Commission (ASECO), Chairman then, Aloy Anokwuru, now late, has beaten all challenges to conduct the election which was the only chapter remaining.
At the end of the contest, two candidates who contested for the Chairmanship, Prince BAMGBALA ADEWUSI scored 70 Votes, while Alhaji Bola Ashiru scored 49 votes.
Other winners included Davies  Ben Chukwunenye, Vice Chairman, 60 votes, Sylvester Iyamu, Secretary unopposed, Okere Chinedu, Assistant Secretary, unopposed, Lekwauwa Ifeanyi, Treasurer 63 votes, Gbenle  Joseph, Financial Secretary 58 votes and Mmasike Victor, Publicity Secretary 71 votes.
According to the supreme ANLCA Constitution, and practice, their certificates of return must be signed by the ANLCA National President,  BOT Chairman and ASECO Chairman.
In this case, Iju Tony Nwabunike, the then National President signed, Ozo Chukwura Felix signed for BOT Chairman, while late Aloy Anokwuru signed as the ASECO Chairman.
Their tenure as stated in their certificates of returns runs for four (4) years and is to terminate on 14th January 2026.
BAMGBALA ADEWUSI CRIED FOR JUSTICE
In a chat with our Reporter on why he is being hunted to vacate the seat as the MMAC chapter Chairman, Adewusi said, ” I don’t know what I have done to them, the National President and NECOM members, my election was conducted by an elected and legitimate NECOM led by Tony Nwabunike, they followed the Constitution of ANLCA and my tenure as stated in my certificate of returns reads four years, which terminate in January 2026.
“Am not afraid of leaving, but you cannot intimidate me and remove me illegally, especially when the matter is in court.
“The police looking at the matter has said let the status quo remains pending the outcome of the case in court.
“But I don’t know why they are desperate not to allow the law to take its full course.
” You can see all the illegal steps they are taking to remove me by fire by force.
“I want all ANLCA members to rise up and defend ANLCA and its Constitution, it is not about Adewusi, it is about ANLCA Constitution, the law and the integrity of ANLCA members “.
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Freight Monitor

Fresh crisis brews in ANLCA 

Emenike, ANLCA President

—as angry members walk out of NEC meeting over imposition of strange characters on ASECO. 

— aggrieved members may seek redress in court— Ozo Chukwura 

The Eyewitness Reporter 

The fragile peace that has existed in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) since the eight months administration of Chief Emenike Nwekeoji, the National President of the association, may be ruptured and return the war-weary group to a resurgence of fresh crisis.

Ironically, the unilateral decisions made by Chief Emenike at the recently held National Executive Committee (NEC)meeting of the association have sparked outrage and may return the aggrieved members to the trenches.

It could be recalled that the President of ANLCA, Chief Emenke, had called the NEC meeting of the association on April 26th, 2024 to discuss two matters listed on the agenda, which included the reconstitution of the Association Electoral Committee (ASECO)  after the unceremonious resignation of its Chairman, Chief Alloy Eze and election into the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the association.

However, Prince Ozo Chukwura, the Vice Chairman of the association’s BOT, who was present at the meeting, told our reporter that the NEC meeting was stalemated.

“The meeting was inconclusive. It was stalemated as aggrieved members walked out in anger over the unilateral decision of Emenike to bring in two unqualified members and impose them on ASECO as members against the wish of BOT members and other attendees” Prince Ozo Chukwura disclosed.

According to him, the sign that Emenike had a hidden agenda first emerged when the meeting, which was slated for 1 0’clock didn’t start until around 4: 25 pm as some members, who had gone to have another clandestine meeting elsewhere came in late and briefed the president before the NEC meeting started.

“After a long epistle of a welcome address in which he tried to prepare the minds of those in attendance for his hidden agenda, Emenike announced the names of two strange characters who by no means are not qualified as members of ASECO to join the original six members.”

” We all in unison rejected the choice and objected to the strange practice by Mr. President as the supreme constitution of ANLCA only empowers the BOT members to appoint ASECO members and submit their names to NEC and not NECOM for ratification”

” The BOT derives this power from section 13 of the 2013 constitution of the association.

” We were therefore surprised at the decision of the President to appoint ASECO members.” But Emenike told us he derived his powers to set up ASECO members from section 25 of the 2013 constitution.

“This was where the confusion started because we pointed out to him that the section he relied on only empowers him to “set up” and not to “appoint”.
“We educated him that from time immemorial, it was the BOT that appoints ASECO members and submits to NEC for ratification.
” We also pointed it out to him that the power to “appoint” is more powerful and supersedes the power to ”set up” which he derives from section 25.

” However, he insisted and maintained its position to bring in these two strange characters who he apparently wanted to do his biddings as ASECO members.”Curiously, he wanted to make one of them, one Francis Itua, who clearly did not qualify as his practicing licence is not more than four months as against the stipulated five to 10 years, to become the chairman of the ASECO while the second person, Abayomi Ajibola, whom I didn’t recognize, is slated for the position of Secretary.

“However, in order to give peace a chance, we gave the President option B, which was to retain the former six members without bringing in other persons while he was given the opportunity of appointing the chairman and secretary among them”

” But Emenike rejected this option, insisting on bringing in these two stooges of his to ASECO.
” At this point, the secretary of ANLCA, Mr Olumide Fakanlu, asked the President to overrule the NEC and imposed his stooges on ASECO.
” True to the advice of his Secretary, Emenike pointedly announced that he has overruled NEC and that his decision to bring in his stooges stays.

“This was despite the vehement protest of the Chairman of the Western Zone, Mr Femi Anifowose.” At this point, most attendees, including myself, walked out of the venue of the meeting, surprised at the despotic attitude of the President.

Prince Ozo Chukwura however warned about the impending implosion of the association if the President does not rescind some of his unilateral decisions, including the one he made on the reconstitution of ASECO and his unilateral decision to dissolve the legally constituted Executive Council at Murtala Mohammed Airport chapter of the Association.

” I distance myself from the unilateral decisions of Mr President which to me is a recipe for anarchy and chaos in the association.”If not rescinded, it could lead to a resurgence of litigations by aggrieved members who are at liberty to approach the courts to seek redress” the ANLCA chieftain warned.

Prince Chukwura bemoaned the arrogant attitude of Emenike since he emerged in what he described as highly compromised election as he behaves like a demi-god.

He raised the alarm that the administration of Emenike has jettisoned the role and conditions of peace facilitated by the Customs Consultative Council(CCC)  which helped to broker peace that gave way to the election that brought him in as President.

He revealed that they went as far as reporting the CCC to the CGC.

Goaded by Chief Elochukwu who said that the association has no need for CCC again as they can no longer dictate to them, the Emenike Nwekeoji-led administration has completely desecrated the terms and conditions of the peace deal brokered by the CCC.”

” During the peace arrangement facilitated by the CCC, it was agreed that since the Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha -faction has taken the chairmanship of the BOT, the presidency should be zoned to the Farinto faction.

“But they quickly brought in Emenike from nowhere to contest the election against our candidate and he won.

“The CCC also said that after the NECOM election, the BOT election should be conducted within a month before the chapter elections.
“All these were kept in the breach after Emenike became the President.

“We allow this breach of agreement to slide for peace’s sake.”Also, it was decided that ASECO should be constituted with eight members, four from each faction while the Farinto faction should produce the chairman.

“No sooner did Alloy Anakwuru become the chairman, than he died.

“Our replacement in the person of Emeka Igwe was eventually frustrated to resign.”He was never allowed to work as a series of allegations and accusations were thrown at him until he was forced to resign.

“Now, Emenike and his group wanted to impose their stooges on ASECO, made them chairman and secretary respectively to do their bidding in the BOT and chapter elections coming up.

“This is the bone of contention and a sure way to return the association to the much-avoided crisis” Prince Ozo Chukwura disclosed.” We have overlooked so much of their excesses and desecration of the peace agreement to allow peace to reign.

“During the NECOM election, they doctored and padded the voters register with strange names, including those who do not qualify or have valid licenses and allowed them to vote.
“They went as far as including the Ijora chapter that is dead and brought in people under the dead chapter to vote.

“They allowed people who were not qualified to vote, people who have not contributed anything to the association, they were given a waiver to vote while our people were disenfranchised.”Though we protested, the CCC asked us to give peace a chance and we did.

“But now they want to overreach themselves and reopen the old wounds which we shall revisit if need be” the ANLCA chieftain warned.

He also lamented that all his entreaties to the ANLCA President to reconcile all the aggrieved members were ignored. Prince Ozo Chukwura however advised Emenike and his lieutenants to work towards peace in ANLCA as his current action is capable of flitering away the little gains achieved during the period of fragile peace in the association.

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