The Eyewitness reporter
The yet-to-settle crisis in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) has taken a new twist as the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) has disowned the purported registered Board of Trustees(BOT) of Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha-led faction.
The ANLCA has been engulfed in a protracted crisis for the past five years as two factions in the association were laying claims to the authentic BOT of the association.
The Mustapha-led group has claimed legitimacy on the ANLCA board, a claim disputed by another faction led by Prince Ozo Chukwurah, both of which claimed they were registered by the CAC.
However, in the course of the protracted crisis and attempts to find lasting peace in the association, both factions have approached the Lagos state Police Command for mediation and mandated the police to investigate and find from the CAC an authentic registered BOT between the two warring parties.
However, the Police have obtained the true position of the CAC on the authentic ANLCA BOT.
In the report obtained by the police and a copy of which was sighted by our reporter, the CAC declared that Taiwo Mustapha, Ernest Elochukwu, Dennis Okafor, Azeez are not BOT members.
According to the 36 pages report dated March 13th, 2023 from the CAC with reference, No RGO/SU/VOL.1/2023/0289 and addressed to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, Lagos, the authentic BOT recognised by the CAC was the one registered by Chief Henry Njoku.
The CAC claimed that it actually issued the two certificates being brandished by the two factional BOTs but were subsequently cancelled on the ground of various lawsuits filed by the contending parties to the board.
The report titled ” RE: CONFIRMATION OF CERTIFICATES OF INCORPORATION AND STATUS REPORT” reads in part ” We refer to your letter with reference number AB 3383/LSX/DO/VOL.3/57 for confirmation of Certificates and status report in respect of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents.
” Kindly be informed both Certificates dated 16th January 2020 and 7th September 2022 were issued by the Commission. However, they were subsequently canceled on the grounds that the appointment of Trustees was subjudiced .
” The Certificate issued on 16th January 2020 was canceled on 3rd March 2020 on the findings that the advertisement for change of trustees was made during the subsistence of a pending suit making the filing for changes unlawful and of no effect.
” Also, on the 27th of September 2022, the Certificate dated 7th September 2022, was canceled and the status quo reverted in view of suits FHC/L/CS/599/2020 and FHC/CS/79/2021 which were still pending at the time of the changes.
” Consequent to the above, the status quo on the Trustees has been reversed to changes filed in 2014 and contained in the Certificate issued on the 13th of January 2020. You may further wish to note that the 2014 application was initially not concluded on procedural queries requiring the return of the original Certificate of the association and submission of identification of trustees.
” Find attached the status extract, certified true copies of the Certificate of Incorporation, extract of minutes and documents in respect of the changes filed with the Commission in 2014 reflecting the current status of the association on the Commission’s record”
The letter was signed by Maimunat Hamu Modi on behalf of the Registrar General of CAC and was copied ANLCA and Finestone Chambers.
On the real and active members of the ANLCA BOT members with current status with CAC , the first on the list is Chief Sir Henry Njoku, followed by ( late) Alhaji Aare Sanni Shittu, Chief Sunday Odedeyi, Chief Peter Oge Obi, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi, Okenze Sylvester Obinna, Chief Lawrence Asuquo, Dr. Sir Enoch Iwueze and Alhaji Aliyu Isa.
Also, the document shows past registered members of the ANLCA board who were removed to include Otunba Oyewole Fashewe, Ofoegbu U. Ofoegbu, Dr A.B.Mamman, Sam Bamisaye , Innocent Okoye, Ezeani Mbadugha and James Idornigie. They were removed and replaced by Chief Henry Njoku BOT, according to the CAC report.
However, there was nowhere in the 36-page report that Sir Ernest Elochukwu, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Chief Dennis Okafor and Alhaji Dayo Azeez were either listed or mentioned as BOT members of ANLCA, nor did their pictures appear anywhere in the document.
Reacting to the CAC Report and the latest media reports credited to Chief Ernest Elochukwu and Co, the Acting National President of ANLCA, Kayode Farinto ” I am pained to see Elder statesmen behaving the way some of our so-called leaders are doing.
”First and foremost, let me state clearly that NECOM believes in the leadership of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
”Hence, we allowed many of the things done under the peace agreement even when we knew they were not in line with our constitution, but for the entire Association, we did give and take.
” Sir Elochukwu met the Nigeria Police to write to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the true status of the Association’s BOT and a copy of the reply has been sent to us and he and Alhaji Mustapha are not even amongst the members of our board recognized under the law.
” I have decided to release the report to the public for all stakeholders to know the aggressors and that we have been magnanimous to have accepted the issues the way it has been midwife by the Chairman of the Governing board of the CRFFN through the use of the political solution.
” Secondly, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha does not have any power to counter the decision of the National Executive Council ( NEC) to extend the NECOM election by 90 days for the Association Electoral Commission ( ASECO) to be able to conduct the NECOM Election.
”He needs to know that the day-to-day running of the association lies on the NECOM and not the board, it is expressly stated in our constitution.
” Finally, I urge the ASECO to go ahead with the preparation for the conduct of the NECOM election. I also state unequivocally that we have our belief in the capabilities of Alhaji Abubakar Sanni- led Governing Council of CRFFN in piloting the affairs of freight forwarders in line with the CRFFN Act as enshrined.” Farinto said.
”Meanwhile, with the latest development, it is certain that if the gladiators will not agree with the political solution as mediated by the CRFFN, the recognized BOT can as well resume office to restore lasting peace and if anyone continues on the warpath, then the law should take its full weight on culprits” Farinto declared.
Ironically, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar-led CRFFN has brokered the much elusive peace in the ANLCA which was generally accepted by the two factions of the BOT.
The peace accord was further consolidated with the merger of the two BOTs, consisting of equal numbers of members from the two contending factional BOTs with Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as its Chairman.
Prince Taiye Oyeniyi graciously stepped down as a member of the factional BOT and was unanimously adopted as the patron of the unified BOT.
While the whole members were savouring the new found-peace, Chief Ernest Elochukwu, a former National President of ANLCA and a member of the factional BOT which has now been disowned by the CAC, decided to truncate the peace process when he announced at a kangaroo press conference Monday that the Taiwo Mustapha-led BOT has pulled out of the peace pact, a claim which Prince Taiyo Oyeniyi claimed ignorance of.
Speaking with our reporter Tuesday, Prince Oyeniyi, who is a strong member of the discredited factional BOT to which Elochukwu belongs but who wholeheartedly embraced the peace process, said he was neither aware of the press conference convened by Elochukwu nor was consulted.
He said he has gone out of Lagos but promised to find out the grievances of the motley members of the Elochukwu disgruntled gang.
Alhaji Mustapha told our reporter that he was out of the country at the time the purported press conference was convened.
The CAC report has however pulled the rug off the feet of Chief Ernest Elochukwu and his gang in their latest efforts to truncate the hard-won peace in ANLCA.