ANLCA recently expelled some of its members for alleged anti-union politics. ANOZIE EGOLE writes that while the affected members are threatening litigation, the BoT is ready to mediate
Members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents will not forget Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in a hurry. That fateful day, some members were expelled for alleged involvement in anti-union politics.
The association after an emergency National Executive Council meeting at Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, announced the expulsion of its former president, Ernest Elochukwu, and some other members. They were accused of working against the interest of the association since the present National Executive Committee and leadership of the association came on board.
The NECOM, which is the highest organ of the association, was held to address fiscal policies of the government, as it affects the association, personal issues, financial issues, operational issues, disciplinary committee report among others.
Mixed reaction rocked the meeting, as some members of NECOM, who were present at the meeting, were in the dark as to what punishment would be meted out to the errant members, considering the magnitude of their alleged offences.
The meeting was rowdy, as some ANLCA members kicked against the four years suspension slammed on the suspects by the disciplinary committee, in line with the association’s constitution. Some opined that considering the magnitude of the offences, they should not be pardoned, as deterrent to potential attacks and anti-association activities; hence, agitation against the committee’s recommendation. Many said faulted members crossed the line and that suspending them was not enough sanction. They wanted them expelled.
After much deliberation, the matter was put to vote, for the love of transparency. At the end of voting, seven members opted for suspension, while 42 asked for expulsion. This led to the expulsion of Elochukwu and his company, Nestilo Nigeria Limited.
Other faulted members include Sir John Oforbike and his company, Denca Services Limited; Mr Temitope Akindele of Great Star Line Nigeria Limited; Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha of Pyramid Nigeria Limited; Taiye Oyeniyi of Mackmany Nigeria Limited; Joe Sanni of Multimodal Logistics Limited; and Gideon Nwagbaraocha and his company.
Speaking at the NECOM meeting, the National President, Tony Nwabunike, hinted that the decision of the council, the highest decision making body of the association, was final. He announced the new Board of Trustees with the Chief Executive Officer of SIFAX Group, Dr Taiwo Afolabi, as chairman and Ozo Chukwura as his vice.
But stakeholders in the industry frowned on the decision of the NECOM, arguing that there should have been warning before such decision.
A frontline freight forwarder, who doesn’t want his name in print, believes the NECOM didn’t do well.
“I don’t think the NECOM did well with this decision. In the history of this great association, I have never heard this before. The question is, were these individuals informed of their offence before expelling them?
“I think there should have been some warning before this which should be the last option is taken,” he stated.
Meanwhile, insiders have revealed that there are plans by some of the affected members to drag the association to court over their expulsion.
In an interview, the new vice chairman of the BoT said the board would act as the father of the association, as custodian of the association’s properties and ensure that “any litigation against the association is resolved amicably.”
His words, “I have been part and parcel of the negotiating team for years, and in my little capacity, I have participated in a number of conflict resolution efforts and achieved a number of successes. We are not the running the daily activities of the association, but we are going to give NECOM our full support.
“The role of the board is to keep peace and bridge the gap in the association. Even those that are expelled, if they ask for forgiveness to come back to the association with sincerity of purpose, as fathers of association we will appeal to NECOM to look into their case once more.”
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