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ANLCA National President, Tony Iju Nwabunike
The Executive Committee of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has dismissed as “joke of the century” the claim that the court automatically extended the tenure of the incumbent Board of Trustees (BoT) by another six years.
Same goes for Thursday’s election of Mr. Taiwo Mustapha and Mr. Taiwo Oyeniyi as the new board’s chairman and secretary respectively by five of the nine-member board, a development the executive committee considers part of the “distraction that has been going on in the last two years in the association.”
Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on October 11, 2019 voided the activities of the board for the past six years on the ground that it was not duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Addressing newsmen in Lagos Friday on behalf of the National President, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike, who was said to be out of town, the ANLCA National Secretary, Mr. Babatunde Mukaila, said he had been directed to clarify that “by 1200hrs today (February 7, 2020), the tenure of the present board of trustees will expire.
“I want to equally state clearly that nobody gets into ANLCA Board unless through an AGM (Annual General Meeting) called specifically for that purpose. The last such AGM was in Warri in 2014, and that was the same AGM with the resolution that returned the present board.”
He noted that whatever challenges that informed some board members’ inability to be registered with the CAC after their election was internal to them, adding that about “600 companies, most traveling by road, gave them that mandate to sit in the ANLCA Board of Trustees.
Therefore, “no one will sit in an air-conditioned room and extend such tenure. It is a joke of the century and cannot stand. The president will make a categorical statement latest on Monday.
“I am saying this authoritatively because I delivered that election then as the chairman of ASECO. Their tenure will wind down by 12midnight today, February 7, and if anyone is interested to sit on our board, announcement has been made by ASECO.”
Going forward, he said the president, according to the ANLCA Constitution, will announce the date of the next AGM that will produce the next board, adding that effect from February 8, the emergency powers of the president on general administration will apply.
Under such powers, “where any issue or matter arises, which is not covered or contemplated in this constitution, the BoT and or the NECOM shall have power to take decision, so the president is going to be taking some landmark decision because now, the BoT is not there.”
Responding to the court’s judgment that the board’s tenure legally began on January 16, 2020, when it was registered with the CAC, ANLCA disclosed that Mustapha actually appealed the judgment but later withdrew his appeal to enable him seek out-of-court settlement.
“To my understanding, we have our board, and if they have an internal crisis – any reason they could not register themselves for six good years but did that when it is about 10 days to go, they are documented as board in the anal of history; that is why you have their pictures here.
“Therefore, if they did not perfect any paper in Abuja, we gave them that mandate, which is live and extant to them until this midnight. It is going to be a joke of the century if a mandate given willingly by over 600 companies at an AGM is being upturned by just five people.
“The same Taiwo Mustapha went on appeal but last Tuesday brought a court bailiff that he was no more appealing the judgment but would rather look for out-of-court settlement.
“It was on that authority that they came in here, because as our board members, there is no time they would want to have a meeting and we would shut them out, even when they were hotly factionalised.
Having granted six years to themselves without the consent of the association or any member – and nobody takes Oath of Allegiance (section 31) in ANLCA unless sworn in, if the president does not swear you in, you have not taken office. They do have an opportunity to recontest.”