Iju Tony Nwabunike taking oath of office at the official inauguration of the new executive.


History was made at the weekend as the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, successfully held a smooth transition, culminating in the inauguration of Iju Tony Nwabunike as the new National President of the association. He takes over from Prince Olayiwola Shittu, who came on board in 2010.

The official inauguration and send-forth ceremony of the incoming and outgoing presidents, which took place at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac, Lagos was full of pump and pageantry and a gathering of the la crème of the maritime industry in Nigeria, as representatives from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN, members of sister associations and even officials of the National Customs Brokers Association of Liberia, among several others.

The new President while delivering an inaugural speech, said an end has come for that era where Customs brokerage agents are looked at like dropouts, pledging that he would do everything possible to professionalise the business.

According to him, in line with efforts to professionalise the business, deliberate steps would also be taken towards the establishment of Chartered Institute of Customs Brokers, which would make the business statutorily professional to enable practitioners to equate with others in their relevant businesses or profession.

He said: “The professionalising the business of customs brokerage and freight forwarding would be the fulcrum and bedrock of this administration. Hence forth, when we say up ANLCA, you will answer up professionals”.

He also disclosed that in addition to setting up the Chartered Institute of Customs Brokers, the association under his watch would also embark on massive training programmes both at home and abroad for members as part of measures to keep them abreast of current happenings in the global freight forwarding and customs brokerage business.

Iju Nwabunike, who doubles as Managing Director of Mac-Tonnel Nigeria Limited said that the new leadership of the association would establish a globally acceptable Customs Brokerage Village, which will be equipped with state-of-art Information Communication ICT, facilities, world-class hotel and other related facilities, which would also act as a major source of revenue for the association.

While commenting on the state of the maritime industry, he said that the new regime would liaise both with the executive arm of the government and the National Assembly with a view to checkmating the various administrative bottlenecks and other manmade problem and hitches that impede the smooth and timely delivery of cargo from the nation’s seaports.

“We will work with the relevant arms of the Federal Government, including the National Assembly towards reducing the administrative bottlenecks and several other encumbrances that impede free flow of trade at the nation’s seaports and land borders. We will also eliminate this common practice where foreigners and non-professionals take over customs brokerage business in Nigeria while our members sit and watch helplessly”, he also pledged.

The out-gone president while speaking earlier in an emotion laden voice, attested to the fact that the emergence of Iju Nwabunike as the president of the association was an act of God, who no man could subvert, adding that he does not need to advise the new president, knowing fully well that he is capable, especially given his track records.

Recall that Iju Nwabunike was a one-time chairman of the Apapa Chapter of the association, after which he rose to the position of the National Secretary, having also been a member of Board of Trustees of the association. He was also the pioneer chairman of CRFFN.