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CAC exposes deceit of Mustapha- led ANLCA BOT

Taiwo Afolabi{L} Ozo Chukwurah,

 

—withdraws certificate of registration
—-court declares body illegal.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has unveiled the veil of deceit and shenanigans under which Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha -led Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has hidden.
It could be recalled that the ANLCA, since 2018, has been engulfed in a protracted crisis that was sparked off by the internal wrangling within the association’s BOT where Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and his group wanted to take over through illegitimate methods.
In the course of the crisis, which has polarised the association and fictionalised the board, the Mustapha-led group has approached the CAC in 2019 to legitimize his faction of the BOT through registration.
In what later turned out to be a misleading procedural process, the CAC inadvertently issued the faction a certificate in January 2020.
However, an investigation revealed that the CAC, having been briefed about the illegitimate procedural process through which Mustapha- led group procured the certificate, consequently withdrew the document via a letter dated March 3rd, 2020 with reference number CAC/GCE/VOL.1/2020/068 and signed by one Abdul Hakeem Mohammed and addressed to Chairman, BOT, ANLCA.
The letter reads inter Alia
“We have observed that the advertisement you made while registering the Trustees was made on the 18th day of March 2019 while the case at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos was pending.
” We have also observed that the suit in Lagos was bordering on the appointment of Trustees.
” Consequently, the advertisement was made ILLEGALLY and the subsequent filing in November 2019 became UNLAWFUL and of no effect whatsoever.
” In view of this, the commission herewith CANCELLED the certificate issued to you on the 16th day of January 2020.
” You are hereby to return the certificate immediately”
A member of the purported board, Chief Peter Obi, was copied.
To further legalise the zeal of illegitimacy put by the CAC on Taiwo Mustapha- led BOT, Justice Aikawa of the Lagos Federal High court on October 11, 2019, disqualified Alhaji Mustapha as the Chairman of ANLCA BOT.
In the suit No FHC/L/CS/1274/2018 and filed by Sky Sail Nigeria Limited and Chief Peter Obi as the plaintiff against the Registered Trustees of ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike and Taiwo Mustahapha as the defendants, Justice Aikawa made the following pronouncements in his ruling in the 13-page judgement.
”I hereby made an order of injunction restraining the 1st defendant(registered trustees of ANLCA} and the 2nd defendant{Tony Nwabunike} from recognising the 3rd defendant{ Taiwo Mustapha} as the Chairman of the board of trustees of ANLCA.
” I hereby made an order of injunction restraining the 3rd defendant{Taiwo Mustapha} from parading himself or acting as the Chairman of the board of trustees of ANLCA.
”I hereby made an order declaring void the purported election to change the leadership of the board on the 13th of April, 2018 and the communique issued thereof”
The judgement of Justice Aikawa was neither appealed nor vacated to date by the defendants.
Explaining why the National Executive Council of ANLCA has failed to enforce this ruling as well as leverage on the CAC disclaimer on Mustapha-led BOT, Prince Ozo Chukwurah, the Vice-Chairman of the recognised BOT of ANLCA said the association was merely tolerating the intransigence of Mustapha’s group despite its illegitimate claims on the BOT in order to give peace a chance and thinking that the group will eventually embrace the olive branch extended to them.
He explained that it was the desire of the NECOM and the authentic BOT to broker peace with their estranged members that made them condone what he called the excesses of the Mustapha group.
”The CRFFN tried to intervene in the crisis. The Council called Mustapha and me{Ozo Chukwurah} and we had a deal.
”Firstly, four members of the BOT from our side and four from Mustapha’s side would come together to form a new board so that peace would reign.
This was before we got our certificate.
”I accepted to step down and prevailed on the other four people in our group to join me to make five that will step down so that the remaining four BOT members would join the four members chosen by the Mustapha group to form a new board.
”We also agreed to conduct an election for one from our side and one from their side and whoever wins will join the eight chosen people to make nine members on the new board.
”Mustapha accepted in the presence of the Chairman of the CRFFN, Abubakar Tsanni, who tried to broker the peace. The truce meeting was held at Apapa in August 2022.
”The second deal was that Prince Taiye Oyeniyi had to withdraw his membership of the board from their group because he has served out his two terms of six years each.
”That Mustapha should convince Oyeniyi not to be among the four people his group will choose for the compromised board. He agreed. The CRFFN Chairman is my witness.
”The third and final deal was that everything Tony Nwabunike has done legitimately while in office should be binding because it was the board’s problem we were solving, not NECOM’s.
”His tenure was forced to be cut short by not being allowed to go for the second term but extended by one year according to the general decision at the AGM/NEC meeting in Owerri.
”The decision to conduct the BOT election in Owerri was legitimate and so it is binding on all of us.
”So all the people Nwabunike elected, even before the BOT election in Owerri must stay in office, till their tenure expired. That is the Chapter chairmen and they will do one term of four years, no more the second term.
”But Musthapha argued in favour of three of the Chapter Chairmen of their group in Apapa, Tin Can and MMA. He said we should share the Chapters.
I said those men could not continue to be in office because they have served more than six years.
”They started with Prince Shittu and when Shittu left, they continued with Tony Nwabunike.
I said no, it is not done. I can accept everything but not this one.
”I told him as the BOT member or Chairman, you have no right to elect any officer of the association. Our constitution does not permit him to do so.

At this point, there was no agreement on the third proposal because Musthapha was trying to accommodate his three chapter chairmen whom he elected.
He was also dillydallying on convincing Taiye Oyeniyi to withdraw his membership of the BOT.
”There was no agreement on these two areas before we left the presence of the CRFFN Chairman. As a result of the disagreement on the third condition, the truce broke down”, Prince Chukwurah explained.
He traced the genesis of the protracted crisis in the association to the internal wrangling within the BOT that was sparked off by the 2018 NECOM elections in Enugu.
”There was an election of NECOM. Shittu supported Emenike while Henry Njoku supported Tony Nwabunike. The election was conducted in Enugu in 2018 and won and lost.
”That was the beginning of the present crisis in the association.
”Tony Nwabunike won the election with three votes against his opponents.
The BOT then took a decision among themselves that they will have a chairman, Vice chairman and Secretary for administrative convenience.
This was not in our constitution though.
”They chose to make these changes in the BOT a day before the inauguration of Tony Nwabunike. That was the beginning of the crisis in ANLCA.
These changes sparked a crisis within the board and not in the NECOM.
”That was when we started hearing that Henry Njoku was the Chairman, Taiwo Mustapha was the Chairman. there was a crisis.
It was five people against three people. That was the genesis of the whole crisis.
”Tony Iju continued to run his government. They brought the matter to Nwabunike to intervene and he told them that he just resumed and that they should give him a few months to settle down.
”When they realise that Tony was not forthcoming in settling the matter and the tenure of the crisis-ridden board was going to an end, especially the people on the second tenure on the board, Peter Obi and Henry Njoku went to court seeking clarification. The court then clarified who and who are the real members of the board.
”The court mentioned the names of the four people who are bonified members of the board, Peter Obi, Taiye Oyeniyi, Henry Njoku and Late Aare Sani Shittu.
It was obvious that even though, we elected other members of the board but their names were not registered with the CAC.
That does not make them illegal.
”Eventually, those ones went to the CAC and got their names registered. Such as Taiwo Mustapha and other new members. Also Henry Njoku, Taiye Oyeniyi and Peter Obi were all registered as they were supposed to be to make them legal members of the board.
”I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of how some of them who were given money to register their name embezzled the money which made the registration be done late.
”At a time, Mustapha headed the board for ten months in the interim and he could not get the board registered.
The crisis was internal wrangling within the board while the association was moving smoothly.
”Eventually, the board got registered and got the certificate a month before the expiration of their six years tenure in February 2020, including the second tenure of the old members. They were registered in January 2020.
”When people said their certificate was fake, I, Prince Ozo Chukwurah, investigated and found out that their certificate was genuine.
Their certificate was never and is not fake until the CAC withdrew it.
”After the expiration of the tenure of the board in February, the old members such as Peter Obi, the late Sanni Shittu and Henry Njoku said they are no longer serving because they have served out their two-term.
”Only Taiye Oyeniyi refused to resign. He said his own second term started in January 2020 when the board was registered.
”However, according to the court ruling when Peter Obi and Henry Njoku went to court for clarification before Justice Aikawa, the Judge ruled that the nature of the board members start to run from the day they were elected and not the day the certificate was issued.
”The same pronouncement is in CAMA 2020 signed by President Buhari.
”When they said their tenure started in January 2020, I began to wonder what happened to all that you did as BOT members, including the 2018 election you supervised at Enugu and other elections within that six years.
”How would you now start another six years that are not recognised by our constitution?
When their tenure expired in February 2020, the NECOM constituted ASECO and called for an AGM at Owerri to hold the election for the new BOT members.
”The Governor and Deputy Governor of Imo state were in attendance. We advertised the AGM and the election.
The five people who only have served out their first tenure are entitled to contest in the Owerri election for their second tenure but they pulled out as a result of their anger with the President of the association, Nwabunike for not recognising them.
”However, Justice Aikawa in his ruling has compelled the President of the association, Tony Nwabunike not to recognise Taiwo Mustapha group as the BOT members or have any dealing with them or Mustapha as BOT chairman.
”The court ruling was not challenged or appealed by them. The judgement still subsists and is not vacated.
The court expressly mentioned Taiwo Mustapha that he should not parade himself as the BOT chairman nor be recognised by ANLCA NECOM as such.
They haven’t appealed the court judgement to date.
”So we conducted the BOT election in Owerri and I actually came tops and constitutionally and as the person with the highest votes cast, i am supposed to be the Chairman of the Board.
”But because of equity and fairness, I agreed to play a second fiddle to Dr Afolabi Taiwo because Tony Iju, an Ibo man is already the President and I, Prince Ozo Chukwurah, an Ibo man cannot also be the chairman, even though I won the election.
”I accepted honourably to step down and be the Vice to Dr Afolabi. We went to the AIG all in a bid to find peace, but there was no peace.
Tony Iju, as the [president, conducted the BOT election through the ASECO appointed by the NECOM. So any decision made by him as the president was binding on all the members of the association.
”At that Owerri AGM/ NEC meeting, we took a decision aimed at ending the protracted crisis in the association.
We decided that the six-year two tenure of the BOT members should be reduced to a single term of six years.
The two-term four-year tenure of the President should be reduced to a single term of five years while the three-year two terms of Chapter chairmen should be reduced to a four-year single term.
”These amendments and decisions were ratified at the AGM/ NEC meeting in Owerri.
However, Nwabunike said that having taken this decision, they should allow him to go for his second term of another four years.
We all said no, that will make it eight years.
”We pressurised him to drop such ambition and he agreed but we all asked him to use another year to make up the single term of five years.
So effectively, Nwabunike started the single term of five years and it was the decision ratified at the Owerri AGM/NEC meeting.
The Taiwo faction who did not participate in the AGM in Owerri where the decision was made said Nwabunike could not enjoy the law that he was part to make.
”They went to two courts, one after the other, to challenge him but they lost the two cases.
”The Taiwo Mustapha group continued to parade themselves as BOT members in contempt of the court, using police to harass the authentic BOT members and other law-abiding members of the association.
”However, I sought the advice of a high-ranking police officer whose name I won’t mention, on the way forward.
He advised me to get our newly elected board registered.
”He said the Mustapha group was registered but our own board was not, so we should do the needful.
”We then approached the CAC for registration but we were told that we have court cases and that until we vacate them, they will not register us.
So we went to all the courts with pending cases and we vacated them.
The Mustapha group did not appeal any of them to date.
They only had restraining orders which have expiring dates.
”Their orders expired and an order cannot supersede a judgement on the same issue.
With all the cases against us vacated, we once again approached the CAC for registration.
The CAC then said before they register us, we must settle all outstanding debts owed by ANLCA to date which run into millions of naira.
That our association has not made any financial returns for many years.
Myself, My BOT members and NECOM members started contributing money from our personal pockets because the crisis stalled the effective running of the association.
”The Mustapha group which is holding the chapters are not remitting money to the association purse.
We eventually liquidated all the outstanding debts. We paid up till 2021.
Our own board led by Dr Taiwo Afolabi paid.
”Then we were asked to publish our elections, the venue and that we are the authentic BOT members.
We put the notice in national newspapers for 21 days and nobody challenged it.
The CAC asked its legal department to scrutinise all our documents before we were eventually registered on the 7th of September,2022.
Also, old members ceased to be active on the 26th of August, 2022.
”By implication and in the eye of the law, old members of the BOT, who are Taiwo Mustapha and his group, were authentic members and recognised by law in CAC books, the BOT until 26th August 2022 before they became inactive and ceased to be active members of the BOT.
We got the certificate and took it to our Chairman in his house for presentation”
Prince Chukwurah however dismissed the insinuation that the CAC has cancelled the certificate of Taiwo Afolabi-led BOT, saying it was the antics and deceit employed by the disbanded Mustapha-led BOTto mislead the general public.
”I dare anybody to contest our certificate. They should go to the police and the court to contest the genuineness of our certificate or show that our certificate has been withdrawn as being falsely claimed.
Enough of this their childish play before lives are lost. They should be cautious before the other group which they have pushed to the wall suddenly turns back and face them and match their violence with violence.
”We are however still open for negotiation for peace to reign. We are the authentic BOT recognised by law and we are in charge.
They can foment trouble but we do all within our power to protect the entity called ANLCA which was formed before some of them were born.
We shall serve out our tenure, irrespective of their violence and destruction.
 By December this year, we shall be two years in office and we have four more years to go, we don’t intend to abdicate our office before our tenure expires in 2026′
 Prince Chukwurah however solicited the support of all members so that Taiwo Afolabi-led BOT can succeed.
He said he has paid his dues and made lots of sacrifices for ANLCA, adding that it is now his turn.
”The Mustapha group has continued to unleash violence on the people, closing the secretariat because they have no stake.
At a point, we decided that the two groups should go their separate ways and that enough is enough.
We, therefore, decided to sack them from the association.
”We said we don’t want to associate with them anymore. All their activities are anti-association.
An individual cannot be bigger than the association.
”However, I proposed at our truce meeting with the CRFFN that the sacked members should be recalled at the NEC meeting.
Mustapha said they didn’t recognise the sack but I said it was hanging on your neck, and he could not do anything.
”Today, EMILOKON.
I have served them. I have supported them. Today, it is my turn. I  am the Vice Chairman of the BOT and they should support me and my team.
”The Musthapha group is deceiving the public with the false narratives they are pushing to the public that our certificate has been cancelled by the CAC.
There is nothing further from the truth. They are a drowning group looking for anything to hang on to save their impending doom.
”They should show the world the letter of the purported withdrawal of our certificate by the CAC.
But I will show the public the letter that the CAC issued to withdraw their own certificate”.
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Freight Monitor

President Buhari to commission multi-billion naira Dala Inland dry port Monday –Ahmad Rabiu

The Eyewitness reporter
All is set for the commissioning of the Dala International inland dry port on Monday 31st January 2023 by President Muhammad Buhari at Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.
The Managing Director of the international inland dry port Ahmad Rabiu, stated this while addressing newsmen on the preparation for the inauguration of the port at its headquarters in Kano.
Ahmad Rabiu, who was joined by the chairman of the inland dry port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro, said its the first international inland dry port where cargoes will go anywhere in the world from Kano state without follow up to any sea ports across Nigeria.
Ahmad Rabiu told newsmen that the federal government under President Muhammad Buhari has given all the support required for the take-up, noting that they have met the requirement on infrastructure and other critical amenities.
The MD said the stacking area has the capacity of containing 20 thousand units of containers before moving anywhere at any time, noting that the area covers six hectares of land and the management is willing to add more.
According to Ahmad Rabiu, all the requirements needed for clearance by businessmen, and customs duty will be done right from Kano without follow-up to any seaport in Nigeria.
On his part, the chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro said the management of the port is prepared technically, and physically with interested partners and is going to boost businesses in Kano, Nigeria and Africa in general and urged members of the press to partner with the management in ensuring efficiency, emphasizing that the place is not a monument but a business venture.
The chairman said Dala Inland Dry Port is now a solution to the problems brought about by the seaports and they will introduce cargo tracking and door-to-door delivery of goods and services.
He said the success of the inland dry port is a joint venture between the state government, the business community, regulatory agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria and to make business in Kano and its neighborhood more competitive.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN rejects re-appointment bid of ousted Sam Nwakohu

Ousted CRFFN Registrar, Nwakohu
— appoints Uromta as Acting Registrar
—-shops for substantive Registrar.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Council for the Registration of Freight forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) has thrown out the re-election bid of the outgoing Registrar of the Council, Sam Nwakohu.
In an emergency meeting of the council Thursday at its Abuja liaison office, the Council appointed Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, the Director of Regulations and Enforcement, as an acting Registrar pending the time a substantive registrar will be appointed.
The decision of the council to reject the reelection bid of the ousted Registrar was based on the recommendations of its ad hoc committee to look into the request of Nwakohu for a second term tenure.
The outgoing registrar, last year, at the December meeting of the council, submitted a letter, requesting to be considered for a second term shot at the lucrative position.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni set up an ad-hoc committee, headed by Efeanyi Isikaku, to look into the request of Nwakohu and submit its report in two weeks.
“Following the completion of its assignment and submission of its report, the council, therefore, convened today (Thursday)in Abuja to deliberate on the next line of action to be taken in respect of the committee’s recommendations.
” The AdHoc committee made important recommendations with reference to the provisions of Public Service Rules as well as the council’s Act.
“The committee however, recommended that in order to avoid a vacuum after the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, the council shall start making arrangements for a handover of the Registrar’s office to the most senior management staff of the council.
“Similarly, the committee also recommended that the Appointment Promotion and Discipline committee of the council be directed to start making preparations for reappointment or appointment of substantive Registrar”  Muftahu Ya’u, the chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the governing council,  declared in a statement he sent to our reporter.
 “Finally, the council’s chairman soon after the adoption, approval, and ratification of the committee’s recommendations by members of the council directed the followings:
that arrangement for the Registrar’s handover to Mrs. Chinyere Uromta  Director, Regulations and Enforcement on 31st of January 2023.
“That committee on Appointment Promotion and Discipline go ahead to start preparations for reappointment/appointment of a new Registrar” the head of media and publicity of the council concluded.
It could be recalled that soon after Nwakohu made his ambition known to succeed himself as the Registrar of the council, he went on a lobbying spree, trying to woo the council members to buy into his ambition.
But sources close to the council whispered to our reporter that the second term bid of Nwakohu was dead on arrival due to lots of baggage he carries.
“There was no way he could have succeeded in his obnoxious bid to succeed himself.
Firstly, it was a general consensus among the freight forwarding confraternity that Nwakohu failed woefully as the registrar.
“He is incompetent, arrogant and someone not ready to learn,” a highly placed source said.
“Also, several allegations of financial sleaze against him have not been cleared.
“Similarly, the council members were not happy at the way Nwakohu handled the purchase of the CRFFN Abuja liaison office which cost they felt was inflated.
“All these and other uncharitable behavior of the outgoing registrar are enough reasons not to reappoint him as the Council registrar” the source claimed.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN outgoing Registrar, Sam Nwakohu, lobbies Council for second term in office

Nwakohu
— as he bows out in February.
—-Freight forwarders reject his comeback bid
The Eyewitness reporter
The outgoing Registrar of the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding practice in Nigeria (CRFFN), Samuel Nwakohu, is making last minutes efforts to get a second term tenure in office as the head of the freight forwarding regulatory body.
The outgoing Registrar, who was appointed in February 2019, will exit the council in February 2023 after four years in office.
Our reporter gathered exclusively that Nwakohu was not in a hurry to leave office as he has written to the governing council of the regulatory body about his intention to apply for a second term tenure.
At the December meeting of the council in Abuja, the application letter of the outgoing registrar for a second term tenure was read and a committee was raised to look into his request to return.
Confirming the development, Kayode Farinto, a member of the ad-hoc committee on the second term bid of Nwakohu, said the committee was given two weeks to submit its findings to the council which has the statutory rights to make recommendations on the bid of the Registrar to the Minister of Transportation, Engr Muazu Sambo.
However, our reporter gathered that Sam Nwakohu has embarked on intense lobbying of the committee members and other notable stakeholders in the industry in a bid to clinch the second term tenure.
Kayode Farinto however denied knowledge of any lobby tactics of the outgoing Registrar.
‘I am not aware if he is lobbying or not but what I know is that his letter intimating the council on his second term bid was read at our last council meeting where a committee was raised to look into the issue” he said.
It was gathered that the committee had its first meeting Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 at Rockview Hotel, Apapa Lagos where members deliberated on the chances of Nwakohu.
Meanwhile, there was generally a foul mood among freight forwarders against the outgoing Registrar.
They unanimously dismissed the second-term bid of Nwakohu as obscene, unwarranted and an insult to the collective psyche of freight forwarders given what they all agreed was his unmitigated failure.
“He doesn’t merit a second term in office as the registrar of CRFFN. His tenure was an unmitigated disaster. He is arrogant. He doesn’t relate well with the freight forwarders. He is quick to anger. He distanced himself from his immediate constituency” Alhaji Mukaila Abdulaziz declared.
“We need someone who is ready to learn, we need someone who listens to correction, and suggestions without taking offence.
”Personally, I do not want to see him (Sam Nwakohu) return as the Registrar of CRFFN” the ANLCA scribe concluded.
Mr Ojo Akintoye, the ANLCA chapter chairman of the Tin Can Island port spoke in a similar manner.
When he was asked if the outgoing Registrar deserves a return ticket to the office, Akintoye thundered “No, absolutely no”
“What has he achieved in the four years he was there as the Registrar? Absolutely nothing. His impact was not felt in the industry. The industry didn’t feel the impact of the CRFFN during his tenure. Others should be given a chance to prove their mettle” he said.
Prince Olayiwola Shittu, the immediate past President of ANLCA declined to comment, tactically evading the assessment of the outgoing Registrar.
”I don’t want to discuss CRFFN. It is not worth it.  Since the time I resigned from the council, the body has lost direction. It has lost its focus. It has become a means of making money for some people.
”Could you imagine that some people, since 2007 when the council started, have been in the council, recycling themselves to make money?
Since the council has lost focus, I have equally lost interest in its affairs” the ANLCA chieftain declared.
Similarly, Prince Ozo Chukurah, the Vice Chairman of ANLCA BOT evaded the request to assess the performance of the outgoing Registrar  because” I am no longer in the council”
But indication is rife that the desperate bid of Sam Nwakohu to retain his plum job may not materialise as he was said to have stepped on many toes through what angry stakeholders described as his arrogant posture on issues and little or no knowledge of the industry he is meant to regulate.
This is coupled with the litany of allegations of financial impropriety that dogged his tenure.
He was said to have lived a flamboyant life on the resources of the CRFFN to the chagrin of the council members, some of whom have vowed to block his chances of coming back as the Registrar.
Mr Nwohohu is believed to have proceeded on his terminal leave in December prior to his final disengagement in February 2023 as the de facto Registrar
Sources said his many “sins” he committed in the course of his tenure will likely hurt his chances of coming back.
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