Fresh Crisis Rocks ANLCA Over ‘Improper’ Suspension Of Airport Chapter Chairman 

There is palpable tension in the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), over purported false suspension of the chairman Muritala Muhammed International Airport chapter, Prince Bamgbala Adewusi.
Prince Adewusi who kicked against his purported suspension by the National Executive Committee (NECOM) led by Emenike Nwokeoji, insisted that he is still the valid chairman in charge of the chapter.
In a chat with newsmen on Monday, Adewusi, who opened ‘Can of Worms’ on the ANLCA NECOM, alleged that NECOM was witch-hunting him because he refused to join the Western Zone in fighting against the then Tony Iju Nwabunike tenure as National President of ANLCA.
Adewusi who spoke with our correspondent alongside his Vice Chairman, Mr Ben Davies, condemned the vindictiveness of the ANLCA President in trying to remove a democratically elected executive of a chapter, even  though their tenure is still subsisting.
In a letter dated 7th of June 2024, signed by the National Secretary of ANLCA, Olumide Fakanlu, he announced that Adewusi Bamgbala and his executives have been suspended by the NECOM.
The letter states that Adewusi,  his Deputy, Davies Ben Chukwunenye of SAMON KAY Nigeria Limited and one Mr. Lekwauwa Ifeanyi Valentine of ROKBAL Global Investment Limited have been suspended from office.
“The decision to suspend the membership of the above persons is premised on their failure/refusal to appear before the Disciplinary Committee to defend themselves over the documented allegations of financial malpractices bordering on embezzlement of Association money as stated in Section 24 (10) of our 2013 constitution as amended.
“It is noteworthy that the fourth member also accused in the petition showed up at the Disciplinary Committee sitting and absolved himself. It must be emphasized here that members of the Association are under the obligation to conduct themselves in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Association hence no member should be allowed to act as if he/she is above the said Constitution.
“Consequently, the above stated members henceforth cease to be recognized as members of the Association, and no transaction shall be conducted with them in their former capacities as members of the Association until further notice” the letter read in part.
Adewusi however told our correspondent that his executive was issued a query for alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of N25million, a development which he vowed to sue the NECOM for defamation of character.
“I do not know what warranted the suspension, because we didn’t do anything wrong, the NECOM gave us a query and we answered it, and in the body of the query, I made them to understand that we do not owe ANLCA any dues, it is only the airport chapter that has been paying dues in the Western Zone, and we have been doing everything possible to support the NEC.
“When the letter came, they said we are owing N14million, but we made it known to them that we are not owing them a dime, the NECOM is the one owing us, we erected perimeter fencing at our secretariat here and the former NECOM is owing us, but we decided not to write the new NECOM because they just came in.
“Later, we got a letter than we have been suspended for misappropriation of N25million, can we misappropriate our own personal money? We didn’t give you any budget that could warrant you issuing us money, we have not been investigated by anybody.
“When they wrote us for a meeting of the disciplinary committee, our lawyer wrote back that we are already in court and their is an order that we should not tamper with anything that has to do with this office.
“Apart from that, nobody has ever called us, however I saw an interview granted by a member of the disciplinary committee; Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila where he said that there was no seating of the disciplinary committee and that no one was suspended.
“What the NECOM is doing is witch-hunting, and that’s the way I see it.
But as for today, despite all their witch-hunting, I still remain the chairman of MMA Chapter of ANLCA.
“All our executives are intact, nobody wrote any report from here to the national secretariat about any trouble, there was no audit, no investigation, so it is coming to us as a surprise when we heard that we are being suspended” Adewusi stated.
A copy of the reply written by Adewusi’s Counsel, Barr Oluwasegun Ayinde of Newcastle Associates dated 26th of June 2024, described the suspension and allegation of funds misappropriation as irresponsible, and a defamation of  character,  asking the ANLCA Scribe to retract the letter.
Continuing, the ANLCA Airport Chairman said;
“There is an appeal case ongoing, with an adjournment holding at Lagos High Court on Thursday,  hence the NECOM are acting on contravention to court procedures.
“Myself and my executive played a great part in this new executives coming onboard so that there can be peace in ANLCA, even the Customs Consultative Council (CCC) created by the Comptroller General of Customs, did a lot of work, and we all gave them that honour by allowing the NECOM election hold and go, with the aim that there won’t be crisis after that.
:Since the present NECOM came onboard,  we have been paying our dues, we have been supporting the National, but along the line now, they came up with a cock and bull story that we are suspended based on a committee report which was never provided.
“Tope Akindele which the NECOM is trying to foist on the Airport chapter did not contest elections, and moreover, the judgement of the Badagry High Court which is being peddled around has been appealed by the then NECOM led by Acting President,  Kayode Farinto,  and the Appeal has not been withdrawn”
Adewusi recounted the desperate attempt by the NECOM to witch-hunt his executive and unseat him, especially with the alleged kangaroo inauguration of Tope Akindele by ANLCA President, announcing him as Chairman of the chapter.
“They are trying to witch-hunt us because we were not in support of the Western Zone in the 5-years of crisis which engulfed the Tony Iju Nwabunike administration. However we on our side, we have risen above that, when they won the the last NECOM election, we were supportive by paying our dues regularly, there is nothing they need from us that we have never given” he said
Adewusi explained that when the Tony Iju Nwabunike crisis was ongoing, the Airport chapter under the former Chairman, Alloy Nze Igwe refused to join the fight because the airport is volatile, unlike other chapters.
“When I came onboard and Emenike came onboard, I pledged allegiance to them, by so doing,  they should have seen it that it is our procedure at the airport never to allow any crisis, if it happens, the association would not hold again, the Airport is the one sustaining the NECOM
“FAAN is currently seating on the edge to take over this secretariat space,  with any little crisis here, we are gone, so what is going to be the gain of ANLCA members at the airport? They should not kill the association because of their personal interest.
“Without the CCC resolution, would Emenike have emerge as President? But now, rather than give peace a chance just like they enjoyed it with the adhoc arrangement of the CCC which is alien to ANLCA Constitution, they are now witch-hunting our chapter.
“We have just one year and six months left in office for our tenure to elapse.
“I have never owed anybody any N25million, I have never misappropriated any money and i have not been investigated by anybody, we have Internal Auditors and External Auditors, and non of have approached us in anyway” he concluded.
Also speaking,  the Vice chairman of MMA Chapter of ANLCA, Mr Ben  Chukwunenye Davies said that the ANLCA NECOM is trying to manufacture crisis at the Airport chapter where there is none.
“My disappointment is in the National President who failed to listen to advice of many people who spoke to him before now, it is very unfortunate
“To us at the Airport,  Tope Akindele he is trying to install has not contested any election, he only bought form, but he chose to participate in the kangaroo elections organised by the BOT during the crisis. We were 17 people from the Airport that bought form for election in 2018, but only him went to participate in the election by BOT.
“Our constitution is very clear on the issue of election, on the nomination of electoral committee members, the constitution allows BOT to do the nomination but subject to ratification by NEC which is presided over by the National President, however the BOT at that time of the crisis didn’t follow this process.
“The airport never joined the crisis since the time of Nze Alloy. Emenike disappointed many people, we were seeing him as a peace maker, but it is clear he doesn’t have a mind of his own, it is very unfortunate
“The NECOM have always be pretending that there is leadership crisis at airport chapter and we kept telling them there is no crisis.
Whenever the Chairman calls for a chapter meeting, Tope Akindele and his supporters usually don’t fail to attend, and they make contributions
“I have made it clear to the National President, even Bola Ashiru also attends. We can understand the case with Ashiru because he actually contested against the seating chairman but Adewusi defeated him.
“The Airport chapter is one big family,  and we do not have any crisis here,  the NECOM are the one trying to manufacture it, and they are already facing contempt of court” Mr Davies stated.

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