A Chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Barrister Ada Akpunonu has called on the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the association to involve a professional arbitrator in resolving the internal crisis that has bedeviled the association for one year.
Vice President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto had also told Shipping Position Daily last week that there were plans to set up Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) committee in order to bring the needed peace back to the association.
Farinto said that the dispute resolution mechanism is provided for in ANLCA constitution.
But speaking with Shipping Position Daily also last week, Barrister Akpunonu who is a former Vice Chairman of Tin Can Chapter of ANLCA, urged the association to engage a professional arbitrator.
According to her, if the association should constitute the arbitration panel with members of ANLCA, each of them would want to protect their personal interests.
She lamented that it was pitiful that the ongoing crisis in the fold of the association is not about making life better for the common agents in the port, but that it is about selfish and personal interests of the leaders.
She said: "The problem ANLCA is having today is normal in any organization, but unfortunately, none of these interest is geared towards lifting the welfare level of the practitioners, most of these people are fighting for personal interests"
"Thank God that they are now talking about dispute resolution. In settling the dispute, they should involve an external arbitrator, because we all have vested interests, if you now form a dispute resolution committee based on representation from the association, they would all protect their interests"
"The best right now is to get a professional arbitrator, we have our constitution, the major problem ANLCA is having is the BOT; the crisis has nothing to do with the members or the NECOM"
"Ordinarily, the NECOM has been running the affairs of the association, but the only thing is that there is nothing like peace, peace would yield success and make us speak with one voice".
Akpunonu noted that the leadership crisis in ANLCA has taken a toll on the freight forwarding industry as practitioners are now facing untold hardship in the hands of operators.
According to her, most of the government agencies that were sent out of the port have now found their ways back into the nation’s port.
She said it is painful that the various freight forwarding associations do not even have time to come together and know how to handle these problems.
"There are so many challenges in the sector, but if we are busy answering one court order every day, what time would they have to sit down and plan for the members of the association, because the essence of association is to protect the welfare of the members, but this is no longer happening"
"Arbitration is going to be guided by our constitution, the essence is to make peace and not apportion blames, I think this is the only thing that would solve the problem", she counselled.