Even as the crisis currently rocking the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) continue to fester, the factional Board of Trustees, led by Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha said on Tuesday that it will soon appoint new National Executive Committee (NEC) members, following alleged illegal conducts of the current NEC members led by Mr Tony Iju Nwabunike.
Addressing newsmen, Mustapha informed that the association currently does not have a President following the court order that suspended the current NECOM from parading themselves as executives of the association.
He also condemning the Nwabunike-led NEC over the purported emergence of a new chairman of the Board of Trustees of the association, describing their actions as madness while the other factional BoT members likened their actions to that of Macabre Dancers.
Mustapha noted that the press conference was organized to clear the air of its silence which has lingered for years over numerous allegations laid against it by Nwabunike and other members of his cabinets.
Giving details of how the crisis started, Mustapha recalled how nine of them were elected as BoT in February 2014 in Warri, Delta state with five as first-timers and four were returning to the board.
He said the nine elected officers kick-started the smooth running of the board until Nwabunike left to contest the Presidency of ANLCA leaving the membership at 8.
He however, alleged that trouble started when the chairman of the board as at that time; Chief Henry Njoku refused to relieve the position of chairmanship; a position he said, was not recognized by the constitution of the association but reached on a gentle man agreement that for the purpose of administration, the board should have a chairman. He also informed that the gentlemen agreement also stated that two men from same ethnic group cannot be the President of the association and at the same time be the Chairman of the board.
He said the gentlemen agreement made the western zone not to contest against Nwabunike when he picked up the form to contest for the President of the association.
He further explained that after the election that brought the Nwabunike administration in, Henry Njoku who has been the chairman of the board for 10 years prior to the election, refused to agree and handover the chairmanship of the board to a Yoruba man, even after the five members out of eight voted for the Yoruba man to become the board chairman.
Mustapha informed that despite all the gimmicks, he forged ahead to enlist active support of Nwabunike who was inaugurated on the 14th of April 2018 having declared winner by Association Electoral Commission ASECO in the elections held at Enugu.
Speaking further, he said, “I and some other board members went to register with CAC in order to legitimize our membership of the board.” This is because this is the only way we can be legally-recognized as Trustees.”.
“Even with the certificate of registration with us, Nwabunike and his cohorts still engaged ill actions against the leadership of the board which provoked action contained in suit number FHC/LCS599/2020 where by the court issued an order on 29th June, 2020 restraining Nwabunike & Co from interfering with the operation of the BoT of ANLCA as constituted in consonance with the certificate dated 16th January, 2020.” He noted.
“As if that was not enough going forward, some aggrieved members of ANLCA went to the same court that gave Obi the judgment to get the court to nullify all actions taken by the Board prior to the registration since it was illegally composed. Reacting to their prayers, the court gave an order on 26th August, 2020 restraining Nwabunike and his backers from parading themselves as national officers in the suit number FHC/L/CS/921/2020.
“It was noted that since then the suspended President and Njoku have been ridiculing court orders and by making unguarded statements denigrating the actions of the Justices that issued the orders”. he said.
Also reacting, the ANLCA’s Western Zonal Coordinator, Chief John Oforbike recounted how he made many efforts in reconciling both the Board and Nwabunike-led NECOM but failed. He said “I visited Tony Iju 18 times, one of which he had the company of the current bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who prayed for us including other western representatives for four hours.’
Oforbike, however alleged that at another gathering Nwabunike vowed to be the last President the association will ever have, alleging that the plan of the current NECOM is to destroy ANLCA.
When asked about the time of appointing the new acting NEC, Mustapha said, “Let’s say soonest. They would be appointed.”
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