By Nwanggwu Uba
Barely one year in office of the current Executive of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, led Nwabunike Tony iju, normalcy appears yet to return to the Association. This is because of the internal crisis in the Association which had to do with the refusal of a clique holding on to the documents of its property , thus making the current Nwabunike led EXCO as operating illegally in the office complex.
The situation is so
Perhaps, in apparenger anger to force Shittu to speak out on the matter and possibly force the clique holding the documents regarded as his loyalists to release it, may have forced the Nwabunike led Executive to engage the services of the Ibrahim Magu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to intervene to save the situation from degenerating.
This may have encouraged the
The letter inviting Shittu, the former ANLCA President to the EFCC Head office was said to have been signed by A.M. Adache, Head, Intelligence and Special Operations Section, on behalf the Commission’s Director of Operations.
The agency had given the former president a matching order to come along with ”all the relevant original documents regarding properties purchased and sold of the Association”. Many had expected Shittu, to be detained by the EFCC operatives , until he is ready to produce the documents to the Association. They got it wrong.
Given that he had no skeleton in his cupboard, he was said to have honoured the EFCC invitation . In apparent response to questions posed to him regarding to the alleged ALCA property documents which had developed wings , he was said to have told his EFCC interrogators that since he left office as president of the Association on April 14, 2018, there is no official document of the Association still in his custody. The current ANLCA Executive knew who is holding the documents he was said to have volunteered information that the EXCO knew who to approach to recover the documents. There are indications that the Commission may likely invite the parties to resolve the crisis as Shittu , the former ANLCA, was allowed to go .
Insiders told the Value News that the Problem of getting the property document by ANLCA EXCO may have been made worse because of the crisis within the ranks of the Association Board of Trustees , BOT under the Chairmanship of Henry Njoku . There are those within the ranks of the Board and the Association in general who want Njoku to go to pave way for election to elect another BOT Chairman and other members to pilot its affairs. The incumbent Chairman was said to have frustrated all the efforts with the support of some powerful members of the Association regarded as King makers.
Many believe that the issue would have been settled long ago if Nwabunike , the Association President had been available in office in the last one to attend to Association matters. He was said to have taken a year leave of absence to participate in partisan politics in his home state , Anambara , thus left the running of the Assciation in the hands of Kayode Farinto, the Vice President. Farinto may have lost respect of some members of the BOT and aggrived members of the Association as they tried to make things difficult for him to function in that capacity of acting president to take major decisions.
The aggrieved group may have had the feelings that Nwabunike, the ANLCA EXCO was backing Njoku, the embattled BOT, Chairman , which may not have been true. Eniola Igbaroola, Chief of Staff to the ANLCA , president , who could not hide his feelings when confronted by The Value News stressed there was no basis for any person to deny the present EXCO taking possession of the property document because it was bought and furnished with the Association money.
Dariola alluded that Nwabunike and his team may have stepped on powerful toes in the Association because of their too many questions bordering on the expenditure on the building. He noted that there was no proper records for ”Accountability” kept by the former EXCO of the Association, fueling speculation that this is the genesis of the crisis in the Association.
He disclosed that those who are used to old ways of doing things in the Association without accounting for every kobo collected from the Association purse to do a particular job or carry out an assignment are not ready to make a change . the only way out is for them to create the impression that the ANLCA is in total crisis, he said. He disabused people’s mind that there is no crisis in the Association, insisting that Farinto, the Vice President, was able to Coordinate the affairs of the Association, within the one year that the President was on vacation.
Maritime watchers believe that the return of Nwabunike to the office would restore a lasting peace to the Association. He was said to have reached out to some prominent members of the Association to join hands with him in rebuilding the Association. This is evident going by the one year celebration of the EXCO as the Secretariat was parked full as members poured encomiums on the EXCO over their achievements, particular the president as a bridge builder.
Members who spoke He that despite the plots by a clique holding the Association ungovernable to show that that there is no peace, it has not derailed the current EXCO, from keeping to its promises. This is evident with the beautification of the Secretariat training centre with state of the art facilities. The Conference centre and the offices have also been given a facelift to improve the Association service delivery and stadardisation of its operations and services. The Nwabunike led EXCO may have been galvanised to do all that because of the right foundation that had been laid by Shittu, the former President.
Recall that Nwabunike, the ANLCA , president on assumption of duties had promised to” assist the government in ”reducing the administrative bottlenecks in the clearing process at the country’s seaports as well as ”support the government efforts to improve doing of business in Nigeria to attract foreign investors.
He had also promised to work with the government in eliminating the duplication of its agencies and the harmonisation of charges at the ports . This is in addition to the reduction of automobile tariffs and the reduction of port congestions by including the Border posts for clearing of vehicles . It further promised the elimination of foreigners and unlicensed agents in the Customs Brokers business. Farinto, the Vice President may have initiated the process of implementing some of the promises by fighting for the removal of the Headquarters Strike Force from the seaports and the road to facilitate the clearing of goods but that was how far he could go. Perhaps, the return of the ANLCA president to carry out his Association duties would make the difference.