*Hon.Tony Iju-Nwabunike


The National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Hon. Tony-Iju Nwabunike has assured that he would remain neutral in the midst of the disagreement among the members of the Board of Trustees BOT of the association, which he said is in the overall interest of not only the members but also the entire maritime industry.

The President, who debunked insinuations that he is supporting one of the feuding members of the board in an exclusive interview, also urged other members of the National Executive Council and the entire membership of the association to toe the part of peace and dialogue. He noted that the association should at this time in history be spared of a needless crisis that would not serve anybody’s interest but only truncate the modest achievements made over the years.

He said: “The entire membership of ANLCA needs the protection of association at this time in the history of Nigeria’s port industry when licensed customs agents and freight forwarders are at the receiving ends from impositions from terminal operators, shipping companies and so many other anomalies in the port system coupled with the ‘normal’ challenges associated with clearing of cargo at the ports.

“We cannot at this time afford not to speak with one voice in the face of these daunting challenges in our resolve to save our profession and protect the interest of our numerous and vulnerable members by allowing internal disagreement, which ought to be settled on a roundtable to tear us apart. Definitely, history will not judge us right if we allow this to happen.

“Nigeria’s port industry, especially the cargo supply chain needs the invaluable contributions of ANLCA, mostly at this point in the history of the industry, which cannot be achieved in a state of crisis, given the strategic position and role of the association, which has also bought about series of reforms that have benefitted the industry immensely”.

He therefore charged the feuding members of the board to bury their hatchet, as plans are underway to ensure that all the outstanding issues are resolved amicably.

It was however gathered that the leadership of the association is working towards the resolution of the dispute among the members of the board, which would also form part of the discussions at the association’s National Executive Council Meeting NECOM slated for next week.

Nwabunike, who is currently contesting for a House of Representatives seat in the 2019 election, assured that the ANLCA under his watch would leave no stone unturned in protecting the interest of members and the entire freight forwarding business in the country.

He therefore solicited the support and cooperation of other sister associations in the resolve of the current leadership of ANLCA to reduce the issues of withholding of container deposits by shipping companies, imposition of demurrage, rent and other arbitrary payments as well as issues of numerous alerts from various units of the Nigeria Customs Service to the barest minimum.

Recall that ANLCA’s BOT, which is an advisory body, has for some months, been going through some internal squabbles, which became prominent after the election of the current executive led by Iju-Nwabunike sometime in April even before the inauguration of the new leadership.

This disagreement was mainly accentuated by the emergence of the current president, who is of the Igbo extraction, a development that gave rise to agitations that the incumbent chairman, Chief Henry Njoku also of the Igbo extraction must vacate the position to pave way for the emergence of Alhaji Taiwo Mustafa of the Yoruba extraction.