Given the recent crisis within the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the Federal Government of Nigeria has shown indications of readiness to proscribe the association if the issues between the two warring factions cannot be resolved. The ANLCA is the oldest and biggest body of clearing and forwarding practitioners in the country. According to the official website of the organization, the primary role of the national executive body is to promote growth, unity and stability of the association.
Ironically, there has been a crisis within the association’s executives since 2022. It took a dangerous turn in October 2022 when hoodlums purportedly sent by one of the factions attacked the chapter executives while they were holding a meeting. A prominent member of the association, Mr. Wale Cole was attacked, and he almost lost his life as a result. At a recent meeting with the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, the government resolved to proscribe the ANLCA because the administration would not allow disruption of the peace at the nation’s ports.
Comptroller Adeniyi gives the organization one last lifeline.
A reliable source told the media that the Customs comptroller-general had pleaded with the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, to allow the Customs help resolve the crisis within a short time. Because of this, CGC Wale Adeniyi issued a lifeline to the organization to end its crisis by setting up a crisis resolution committee. This was through the Customs Consultative Council, which has summoned a resolution meeting between the two factions. The committee is headed by Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju.
Other members of the committee include serving and retired deputy comptroller-generals (DCG), assistant comptroller-general (ACG), and past presidents of ANLCA, among other stakeholders. The meeting is set to hold in Lagos on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. The source told news correspondents that the profession is not about the agents alone but about the Nigerian economy. The source said that the government cannot allow few selfish individuals because of their interests to destroy the collective goal of the nation.
Warring factions have agreed to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, the two warring factions of the association have indicated interest to attend the customs meeting coming up next week. There are reports that the interventions of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) which brought about a short-lived peace in the association has also collapsed, as there is an ongoing bickering among the board of trustees. In the CRFFN resolution, mostly described as a “fragile peace,” the Governing Board Chairman, Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar, prevailed on the ANLCA factions to bring four candidates each to form the Board of Trustees (BOT).
At the end of the exercise, an 8-member board was inaugurated with Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha as the Chairman. The CRFFN also inaugurated the Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) to immediately conduct elections into the National Executive Committee (NECOM) following the expiry of the term of the incumbent. The BOT chairman announced in a press release the dissolution of the NECOM whose tenure expired in April 2022 and has enjoyed elongation by 15 months. He announced the immediate past national secretary as Sole Administrator for three months, so as to allow ASECO conduct a credible election.
Back-and-forth between BOT chairman and vice causes stir.
However, in a counter press release, the Vice Chairman of the BOT, Prince Ozo Chukwura, said Taiwo Mustapha threw the others under the bus. According to him, the BOT chairman acted on his own and that there was no dissolution. Chukwura said the controversial National Executive Council (NEC) held in Abuja on Wednesday has further extended the tenure of the expired NECOM. In response, the BOT Chairman issued another press release on Saturday morning where he questioned the rationale behind the NECOM.