…say a terminal operator donated N40m, a former CGC over N50m
Contrary to believe that the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA’s) ultra-modern secretariat building (known as Dikko House) in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State was built with a donation of N240 million from the former Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi, National Mail investigation reveals that the building was actually built with contributions and donations from members of the association.
National Mail learnt that the members’ donations and contributions to the ANLCA secretariat building fund was over N200 million.
The source who was a member of the now Court-dissolved Board of Trustees (BoT) of the association disclosed that only four prominent members of the association, one of them a Terminal Operator, donated a whopping sum of N84 million to the secretariat building fund, even as the rest of the members contributed N50, 000 per person (corporate).
It was disclosed that though there was a lot of secrecy in the handling of things by those in-charge at that time, our sources said that the former Customs helmsman and his friends was believed to have brought in over N60 million, (“though what was declared was N50 million”); making him the highest donor and deserving of the honour of having the facility named after him (‘Dikko House’).
But our sources affirmed that the contributions by members alone was more than enough to build three of such complexes in Apapa, of which two would have been used as Guest Houses, “and there would still have been balance left if the funds had been judiciously deployed.
“I was a member of the BoT, so I am very competent to say what happened. Four of our very rich members alone contributed N84 million and the rest of the members contributed N50, 000 each. Our contributions and the donations were more than enough to build the secretariat and equip it with the necessary modern ICT gadgets to make it a functional office building as well as build two Guest Houses for members in Apapa.
“We were all surprised that what the leadership of the association did at that time was just to build the secretariat complex in Amuwo Odofin (a place far away from our operational base), even at that, the cost was over-blotted and the building was not a functional modern office.”
Meanwhile, National Mail checks revealed that the current value of land and property of the standard of the ‘Dikko House’ in Amuwo Odofin is in the region of N110 million.
Our sources further lamented that the building of the secretariat at Amuwo Odofin did not serve the best interest of the generality of members, saying the building of the complex at Amuwo Odofin was insensitive to the needs of the members who contributed their hard earned money for the building of the secretariat.
According to him, Apapa remains the best place to site ANLCA secretariat because of its proximity to the two major ports (Apapa Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port) in the country.
He also disclosed that it was at the coming of the current leadership of the association that the secretariat was made functional with modern facilities.
National Mail learnt that at that time, the entire edifice (with the exception of the President’s office powered by a small generator) was most of the times in total darkness, for the simple reason that funds were not made available for the fueling of the gigantic standby generator at the complex.
It will be recalled that the over 60 years old umbrella body of Nigeria’s Customs Brokers had over the years operated from rented apartments, the narrative got so bad during the administration of Chief Earnest Elochukwu that the properties of the association were thrown out of their rented office then, the Kariko Towers, No 8 Wharf Road, Apapa.
It was disclosed that ANLCA under the watch Chief Elochukwu was at its lowest ebb that the association became balkanised into ANLCA 1, ANLCA 2 and ANLCA 3. The situation, it was disclosed, was so hot for the Elochukwu administration that the Anambra State born titled chief did not wait to do a second term when he completed his first term in office. It was disclosed that all the association properties thrown out by the owners of Kariko Towers, rotted away and nothing was recovered from it by the Shittu-led leadership when it assumed office and rented another office at Amuwo Odofin.
Our very dependable sources affirmed that it was during that election year that brought in the Shittu-administration that the Board of Trustees (BoT) members resolved that the association must build a befitting secretariat for itself and that the building should be funded through contributions and donations from members. “They also agreed that the complex will be named after the highest donor. That was why it was named Dikko House,” our source said.
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