By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said it is open to reconciliation by granting amnesty to expelled and suspended members who show genuine repentance. This is even as it commended the Police over the reopening of its National Secretariat.
The National President of the association; Mr Tony Nwabunike, in a public statement issued on Monday stated that there is no leadership tussle in ANLCA adding that the real leaders and recognised groups that never wanted ANLCA destroyed are known.
The ANLCA President informed that he had chosen a dignified silence over the unwarranted sealing of the national secretariat for the second time in two years, but chose to break it due to certain exigencies.
While calling for peace, Nwabunike noted that no genuine member of the association would have participated in the attacks at the national secretariat and facilitated the police clampdown witnessed on multiple occasions in the last two years.
He however assured that the association will utilize all lawful means available to seek redress and get justice, adding that a licensed customs agent is not expected to be a thug or promoter of thugs to unleash attacks on the secretariat of the foremost body of professionals in customs brokerage in Nigeria.
His statement reads in part: “The real ANLCA leadership and its known Board of Trustees who won elections would not be part of arson, wanton attack on the secretariat and pushing to get it locked up or rejoicing whenever it is sealed. We are ever committed to the survival, growth and development of ANLCA and will not betray the mandate given us to lead it which expires in April 2023.”
“Recall that after an attack on our secretariat on October 6, 2020 by hoodlums armed with guns, cutlasses, charms and other dangerous items, we lost over N20 million worth of property. Our members and secretariat staff on ground were beaten up and harassed by hired thugs in this incident. While the police and our national officers are taking inventory of any loss or damage from recent attacks, without accusing anyone, some persons have started faulting our stock taking move in a panicky display. We won’t watch our dear association destroyed while we fold our hands.”
“I hereby enjoin all our members across the country to continually be law abiding and report attacks or threat to attack them to the police. I also extend the olive branch again to our former members who show remorse and true repentance. We may review the various sanctions ranging from suspension to expulsion and grant them amnesty for readmission, if they truly change and resolve to abide by our constitution.”
“This is not out of fear or cowardice and therefore should not be taken for granted because under my watch any form of indiscipline or lawless behavior will not cordoned. Our secretariat is open and functioning for our members use and operation while as leaders we keep working towards a more peaceful and orderly body,” he said.
“We shall also support government initiative at ensuring regulatory and security agencies operatives abide by their appropriately specified Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) aimed at making our seaports, airports and approved border stations work in synchrony with international best practices,” he said.