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ANLCA’s long walk to peace, gets new BoT

…To elect new president next Thursday

The ugly narrative of violence, restiveness and illogical disagreements that has torn Nigeria’s foremost freight forwarding group, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) into two warring groups on Wednesday took the back seat as the two factions agreed to sheath their swords after days and hours of peace meeting brokered by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).

Daily NewsWire reports that the peace deal culminated in the inauguration of a new eight-member Board of Trustees (BoT) for the association at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, sponsored by CRFFN during which gladiators from the two warring groups were practically coerced to embrace peace.

Our correspondent further reports that the members of the Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha group had boycotted the AGM but Mustapha and four other leading members of the group attended the meeting.

CRFFN Chairman, Alhaji Tsani Abubakar, Acting Registrar, Mrs Chinyere Uromta, apparently aware of bottled up grievances among participants had engaged the Mustapha group and those of the Ag. President of ANLCA in a closed door meeting before the AGM

They were in the meeting for five hours before the two sides agreed to shift positions.

This was to agree on a new board with four members from each side, making it 8.

The Chairman had informed the larger house of the decision reached at the closed door meeting as the AGM took off.

He also said that once this was agreed by the house the next thing would be to set up an election committee and come back on Thursday next week for a NECOM meeting during which the election timetable would be announced.

The Chairman had also named members of the election committee.

This was what Abubakar came out to announce to the agitated larger house who vehemently questioned the decision on the ground that it was not covered by constitutional provisions.

The participants had in their anger identified the BoT provision in the Constitution as the problem of the Association and moved that the Association should henceforth do without BoT.

The participants also told the Chairman that the Wednesday meeting was the first time an outsider was presiding over the AGM other than the President of the Association.

But the Chairman had explained that the CRFFN was only acting as a father would do when two of his children were involved in a fight, and that is to settle them.

It was at this stage that the Acting President of the Association, Dr. Kayode Farinto took over the microphone and pleaded passionately to the rowdy members that the decision was simply political to end the crisis.

Dr. Kayode Farinto, acting National President, ANLCA pointed out to members that the industry and members had suffered for the past five years and so the need to make peace.

“What we are having today is a political solution. I allowed you all to vent your anger because you have the legitimate right but we need to move on for peace to reign. We have witnessed colossal losses and I am happy that we are coming back together,” he said.

Farinto urged members to key into CRFFN and be registered, adding that by the end of this year, if they were not certified and were practicing, they could go to jail.

“We have collapsed two structures, the old and new Board and the next AGM we will have soon, we must confine the role of our Board to what is stated in the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). This crisis has exposed ANLCA and made people know that the role of the Board is meant to be advisory. But we had a situation where the Board was taking executive function,” he said.

Even after his appeal, some members still continued in protest forcing the Ag president to rise again for another appeal.

Farinto reminded members of the negative impact of the crisis on association, adding that this was killing their profession.

He disclosed that the Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam had called him some days back to tell him that the crisis in ANLCA was killing the industry.

Farinto also alleged that some agencies, including some customs personnel in the ports, were happy about the crisis and in fact fueling it.

He said that the number of alerts has risen from five to 10 as some customs officers continue to take advantage of the crisis in the association.

It was this angle that softened aggrieved members leading to a motion to adopt the proposal by the Chairman of CRFFN.

In response, the Vice Chairman of the Onne chapter of the Association, Mr. Isikaku Ifeanyi moved a motion to set aside the Constitution and appoint a new board of 8 members, four from each warring group.

He was seconded by another member.

Farinto as part of his appeal told members that having identified BoT as the problem of the Association, this will be taken care of during another NECOM meeting.

The new BoT who were inaugurated include Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Dayo Azeez, Sir Ernest Elochukwu and Sir Denis Okafor coming from Mustapha group.

Others from the Farinto group were Prince Ozo Chukwura, Alhaji Awopeju,

Kingsley Offor and Eniola Igbaruola.

As part of the settlement, Prince Taiwo Oyeniyi decided to step down as a BoT member and was appointed as a Patron of the association.

The AGM also inaugurated an enlarged membership of the election committee which included Mr Alloy Anogbulu, Mr. Tope, Obi Elochukwu, Samuel Obi, Lekan Babalola, Erastus Olawo and Sanusi Adebayo.

The Chairman of CRFFN, Abubakar while thanking members for the truce reached explained that the interest of the Council was in resolving the crisis.

He thanked all the parties for the cooperation in arriving at the decision.

Taiwo Oyeniyi and Chief Peter Obi had also expressed joy that the five years crisis was laid to rest following the intervention of the CRFFN.

The two embraced themselves to celebrate the return of peace to the association.

The Acting Registrar of the Council, Mrs. Uromta, in her reaction to the peace achieved, said she was happy that the crisis was resolved.

She disclosed that the issue had given the CRFFN Governing Board Chairman, Abubakar, others and the entire CRFFN administration sleepless nights on how to settle the crisis.

The CRFFN chairman fixed Thursday next week for another meeting.

Meanwhile, members of the newly inaugurated board are; Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Dayo Azeez,Sir. Ernest Elochukwu, Chief Dennis Okafor, Prince Ozo Chukwura, Alhaji Shamsideen Awopeju, Mr. Kingsley Offor and Eniola Igbaruola.

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