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Freight Monitor

Cracks in ANLCA’s peace accord widen as Mustapha insists dissolution of NECOM stays.

—- says Farinto lacks moral right to still be in office as Ag. President
The Eyewitness Reporter
The fragile peace accord in the Association of Nigerian Customs Licensed Agents (ANLCA) facilitated by the Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) after over four years of crisis in the association, may have finally collapsed with the apparent unresolved differences between the two warring parties over the purported dissolution of the association’s National Executive Council (NECOM).
On Thursday, July 13th, 2023, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, the Chairman of the Unified Board of Trustees (BOT) of ANLCA, announced the dissolution of the association’s NECOM and the appointment of a Sole Administrator to take over the affairs of the association for three months pending the time the election would be held.
In a swift reaction, Prince Ozo Chukurah, the Vice Chairman of the unified BOT, issued a counter statement Friday, July 14th, 2023 dismissing the purported dissolution and asking the general public to disregard the action, as there was no time the BOT met to take such decision.
Similarly, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of ANLCA has declared that Alhaji Musthapha lacked the powers to dissolve the NECOM, saying the National Executive Committee(NEC) which sat on July 12th, 2023, had already granted NECOM additional three months tenure extension, saying the body, as the highest decision- making organ of the association, has overruled Musthapha and his BOT.
However, Mustapha, in a statement issued Saturday, July 15th, 2023, insisted that the decision to dissolve NECOM is irreversible as it was in tandem with the supreme constitution of the association and in the interest of fair play and justice.
In a statement sent to our reporter, Alhaji Mustapha insisted that the dissolution order followed due process and therefore, could not be controverted.
“We stand by our position, but I plead with all to drop our ego and come back to further discussion on the way forward” he declared.
He averred that the continued stay in office of members of the NECOM, especially Kayode Farinto, who is the Acting President and a contestant in the coming NECOM elections, is against morality and natural justice.
In reaction to the claim of Prince Chukurah, Mustapha maintained that the BOT, which has the constitutional powers to dissolve the NECOM, has met to discuss the matter.
He reiterated that he was not sold out on becoming BOT chairman but claimed his action was driven by the desire to enthrone peace, justice and equity in ANLCA.
Mustapha lamented that he had made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that peace reign in ANLCA but regretted that a few individuals with selfish intentions with biases had truncated the efforts in order to actualise their inordinate desire.
The BOT chairman claimed he had put in so much effort and energy to ensure he reins in the aggrieved factional group by dissuading its members from forming a parallel government.
“The issue of NECOM dissolution had been discussed variously at physical meetings and via telephone conversations and the main reservation of few including the Vice Chairman had been the obvious difficulty of BOT members running the secretariat themselves.
” But we have to refer to norms and previous practices where the BOT had to take decisions in the interest of the common good.
” But beyond the puerile arguments of who was and wasn’t consulted, the critical issue is about adhering to the tenets of ANLCA Supreme Constitution as a pathfinder.
” Section 8 (subsection 2a & b) and I quote:
Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the National Executive Council shall have powers to extend its tenure in conjunction with the BOT as follows;
(a) In any case of emergency, for a period not more than 3 months.
(b) In any case of any controversy or deadlock arising from its inability to conduct an election or from an inconclusive election for 6 months only.
” But where the emergency or deadlock persists, the Board of Trustees will step in, dissolve and take over cum appoint Administrator to administer the office for a period not more than 6 months and conduct an election.” end of quote.
“This matter was made explicitly clear during the meeting called on Monday 10th July 2023, hence it would not have required another meeting to implement it.
” Beyond all these arguments,  we should address our minds to the moral issues involved.
”  For instance,  why is it so important that a contestant or contestant in an election should be in office to supervise such election when the tenure has expired?
“Again,  why would people be solely pushing for what suits them without considering the interests and feelings of the other side?
” Let it be known that it has caused me unimaginable energy and emotions persuading the other side to accept the one-year tenure additional and later three months extension of the NECOM simply IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE.
“As a person,  I’ve done so much in dissuading the other side from taking retaliatory steps (such as holding a parallel NEC meeting in Lagos and appointing their own parallel acting president).
“That would have truncated the fragile peace ostensibly in place following the CRFFN intervention.
” We were all living witness to the bloodshed in Tincan. But the actions and disposition of some people including those who should ordinarily be called elders are more of personal emotional relationship with some candidates than encouraging the drive for truth and peace.
” I’ve said it severally that I, Taiwo Mustapha, am not crazy about being in ANLCA BOT or being its chairman but that I feel obligated to use whatever endowment which Almighty Allah has given me to strive for the return of peace to this Association in order to offer protection for our teeming members in the pursuit of their business, and our common heritage.
“Finally, I will not pick words with Ozor Chukwura on any platform against what he has released.
” Conscience is an open wound. As to the choice of Alhaji Abdulazeez, Babatunde Mukaila, his choice was arrived at after extensive consultations even as the opposite side had their misgivings that it’s a continuation of the same Farinto arrangement.
“But we were guided by the fact that beyond being a capable hand,  he isn’t contesting in the coming NECOM election.
“He was ASECO chairman for years without any blemish. If Kayode Farinto is not seeing Mukaila Abdulazeez who has worked closely with him in the last five years as a capable hand to run the National Secretariat for the next few weeks, then something is missing.
“And I also state categorically clear that I, Taiwo Mustapha, is not working against Kayode Farinto.
“In conclusion,  I  call on all true lovers of ANLCA to keep their association in prayers for a quick return of peace to our boisterous Association.
“And also to pray that the recent interest by CUSTOMS CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL which meeting we are scheduled to attend next week will yield a wonderful dividend”
However, all efforts to get reaction of Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila to respond to the conflicting claims of the two warring sides over his choice as the Sole Administrator of ANLCA were frustrated by the taciturn posture of the Secretary-General of ANLCA.
When he picked up his calls after several declined calls, he retorted “No comment”
Not with the question if he was actually consulted or not as being counterclaimed by both gladiators, would make him change his hardline posture.
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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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Freight Monitor

Abuja peace accord: Customs Consultative Council to supervise ANLCA elections in August.

— As ASECO, BOT members without valid operating customs licenses to be removed
The eyewitness Reporter
In yet another effort to realign the recalcitrant two factions of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) that have held the association hostage in a protracted ego war, the Customs Consultative Council(CCC) has brokered what seemed like a truce between the two warring parties.
The one brokered by the CRFFN some months ago has collapsed.
At a peace meeting convened by the CCC in Abuja, Wednesday 19th July 2023, members of the peace council, made up of Customs representatives, retired Customs officers,and past National Presidents of ANLCA, the council made far-reaching decisions that it hoped would restore lasting peace to the troubled association.
Part of the resolutions made includes the vacation of office by Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of ANLCA and other NECOM members within the next two weeks of the meeting while the BOT takes over the running of the association till the election holds before the end of August.
The meeting also adopted the 2013 Constitution of ANLCA while jettisoning the other two controversial constitutions of the two warring parties.
The adopted constitution was the one midwifed by the former ANLCA president, Prince Olayiwola Shittu.
It was also agreed that members of ASECO and BOT whose practicing licenses are suspect or could not be verified by the Nigeria Customs Service would be dropped from their positions.
The BOT and ASECO are to conduct and supervise the election not later than the end of August while the CCC will be an observer.
 The structure fashioned out by the CRFFN during its own peace accord meeting would be adopted which created a unified BOT that comprises equal numbers of both warring factions but with the caveat that the BOT election be held immediately after the NECOM election.
The peace council advised that character/ Integrity and Capacity should be the criteria for choosing leaders for the elective positions in ANLCA.
The council also warned aspirants to conduct themselves with a high sense of integrity and maturity and educate their followers and supporters.
It also mandated that the BOT chairman and the vice chairman to issue a joint press release to enlighten members on the accord reached.
 The CCC offered to host a post-Election Dinner in Lagos.

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