Fresh Crisis Looms In ANLCA As ‘Suspended’ Members Take Over Secretariat 

Taiwo Mustapha
The crisis rocking the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) took another dimension yesterday as  suspended members of the association led the Nigeria Police Force to shutdown the secretariat.
The registered trustees led by the allegedly suspended board chairman, Taiwo Mustapha, however, said its either the warring factions come back together to resolve their differences or there will be no peace at the secretariat again.
They, however, put in place a Seven Man Committee led by John Ofobike to undertake the daily running of the association on behalf of the board.
Other members of the committee to include Prince Segun Oduntan, Barr. Ada Akpornonu, Joe Sanni, Alhaji Sanni (Kano Chapter) and Chief Obi chima (Onne Chapter).
He said, “This will be the end, its either we come back together or there will be no peace at the secretariat again. Our members are determined that we must recover the secretariat from them, we have tried over the past to appeal to them to remain calm, but the more we preach peace, the more Tony Iju and his group take their impunity higher, at this stage l can no longer press members not to react and demand for what is right.”
Mustapha also said there had been no NECOM in place in view of subsisting court orders but, what has been in place is at best ‘the arrogant display of impunity.’
“When we say tenure expiration, did they have one? There has been no tenure, they were only operating illegally, the court order that suspended them from office is still there. The issue of them going to Owerri to make constitutional changes and all the other acts like extending their tenure for another one year, that is their own headache as part of the impunity that we have resolved to end.”
He also said that the suspended NECOM must account for monies and collections made so far.
“That is exactly why we are here, in the last three years, what have they done with what been coming to the national purse? Who is going to account for it, there is a lot of things that have gone wrong. But we (BoT) kept quiet thinking that one day, we will be able to talk within ourselves. Its unfortunate, l had so much hope in the person of Tony Iju because l have always seen him as my personal friend, and l kept pressing everybody down that look, lets give him the necessary cooperation, but its sad the kind of reaction l have gotten from him.
My message to our members nationwide is that we have taking a step today not because anybody is happy but because we have a duty to hand the hands of the oppressors. Its an admonition in my own village that you either help the oppressors or you help the oppressed. In this case, my members, you are seeing many of them outside there, they are the oppressed.
“They have been oppressed for three years, and l kept pressing them not to take laws into their hands, begging them to keep calm and don’t move. But here we are today, because the oppressed have refused to stop his oppression, so we have resolved to hold the hands of the oppressors.”
Also asked if there are plans by the BoT to continue to talk with the embattled national President and his NECOM even on his personal recognition, Mustapha answered, “I must tell you…the truth of it…my ultimate goal is to see peace back in ANLCA, to see reconciliation back in ANLCA, to see all of us sitting down, eating and joking and drinking together all over again. I still see them as my brothers, l still see them as my sisters. But where they decide to behave otherwise, we cannot continue to condone any irresponsible tendencies.
On the composition of the security presence at the secretariat and their mandate, Mustapha said, “We have the IG Team here, the AIG Team and the Area Commander Team. I decided to take it up from the IGP level down to the AIG and the Area Commander.
“Their primary duty is to have this placed recovered and to maintain peace in case our members or boys come here and they meet the other party (NECOM), so as to prevent confrontations.”
He further explained that whereas the BoT have taken possession of the secretariat and day to day running of the affairs of the association henceforth in line with its constitution, there is need to remain vigilant and guard against alleged moves by the suspended NECOM or its agents to foment trouble.
“We have taking over the day to day running of the affairs of the association until further notice.
However we have put in place a Seven Man Committee led by John Ofobike to undertake the daily running of the association on behalf of the board, as the highest organ in times of crisis like this. And our ultimate goal is to see peace back in the association.
He also waved aside the issue of election into NECOM in the immediate time, saying the board is more interested in resolving the existing leadership crisis as a priority; failing which it may consider other options.
“No the issue of election will not come in immediately. If we now realize that probably the other side is not ready for reconciliation, this place will remain locked up and under the supervision of the board, go back to court until the matter is disposed off. Our goal is to keep this place locked for the next two weeks, to avoid any untoward situation or bloodbath; why we await possible reconciliation from the other party. If that is not forthcoming, then we have every constitutional right to now put in place an interim administration that wil now start working from the secretariat.”

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