BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
Apparently flustered, confused and panicky, the Alhaji Tsanni Abubakar led Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) may have resorted to attempts to gag members of the registered Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) from seeking legal protection against the Council’s alleged illegal attempt to forcefully remove it from office.
Reacting to news report, sources close to the Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha led ANLCA BoT said the CRFFN has warned the registered BoT and its members against seeking court injunction to stop the CRFFN alleged illegal Annual General Meeting (AGM), which aggrieved faction of ANLCA say is being organized to favour the Dr. Taiwo Afolabi led BoT and its embattled National Executive Committee (NECOM), headed by Dr. Kayode Farinto.
According to the said report, the CRFFN in a statement warmed members of the warring factions not to engage in actions that will truncate purported efforts to convene the said AGM, which the former has advocated as an avenue to resolving all outstanding crisis.
According to Primetime Report, a popular industry online news medium, the Council, in a statement signed by the Acting Registrar/CEO of CRFFN, Mrs. Chinyere Uromta also warned members of the association that doing so would amount to a clear violation of the CRFFN Act.
The statement warned that whosoever embarks on such exercise “shall face the consequences in line with section 21 sub 3(a) and would be equally made to face a Tribunal in accordance with Section 22 sub 1(a -c).”
The reads: “We have carefully monitored this ANLCA crisis all along including the fourteen court cases instituted and observed they could not solve the lingering crisis in the association. Hence as a regulator, we have directed the Acting National President to call for the Annual General Meeting of the association which will be monitored and supervised by the Chairman of the Council, Dr. Abubakar Tsanni and the Council’s Acting Registrar in order to have a lasting solution to these crisis.
“However, we wish to warn that any member of the association that attempts to thwart or disrupt this effort of having an AGM to resolve all issues by way of seeking court Injunction is violating the Council’s Act and shall face the consequences in line with section 21 sub 3(a) and would be equally made to face a Tribunal by virtue of Section 22 sub 1(a -c).
“Finally, the Chairman of the Governing Council appeals to all factions to set aside their differences and come for the Annual General Meeting to discuss and find lasting solutions to all issues”, the statement concluded.”
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the Governing Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni Sunday this week directed the factional Acting National President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto to convene the AGM, a directive that was roundly condemned as biased, unconstitutional and illegal.
In the statement, Abubakar had ignored the existing BoT and has allegedly in collusion with interested parties in the ANLCA leadership crisis and who are members of the CRFFN, plotted to use the AGM to achieve predetermined goals favourable to the faction serving as members of the CRFFN Council.
Reacting to the latest attempt to gag members of the association apparently to muscle its way through with its plans, concerned stakeholders have also called Abubakar’s bluff, noting that should he continue on the present ignoble path he is threading, he would end up in disgrace through lawful and legitimate means.
The respondents who doesn’t want their identity made known in reference to the official position of the registered BoT said the judiciary is a constitutional house of arbiter that is open to all citizens, natural and corporate; to which even the federal government can seek redress or constitutional intervention during dispute.
According to the first respondent, “You can see their desperation, this is to tell you that the retired soldier, the CRFFN Board Chairman is surrounded by desperate money bags and power mongers, who think they can browbeat law abiding members of the association.
“But again, this should tell you the quality of the power chasers at the CRFFN, they will continue to misled the chairman, and l don’t pity him, he should extricate himself from their evil grip, because let me tell you, they are not just putting him under pressure, he is under intense blackmail.
“If not so, how can a senior government appointee who pledged allegiance to the Nigerian Constitution, seek to threaten people from availing themselves the constitutional services of the court? Something is not right here.”
Also reacting, a frontline chieftain of the association western zone described the reported warning as nonsensical and the ranting of unjust arbitrators. “This (reported gagging) is nosense, can the CRFFN override the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? This is a nonissue, you cannot beat a child and stop him from crying or complaining, they are just ranting, the Federal Government can sue and be sued.
“The board would take every legitimate step it deem right under the circumstances my brother, we are waiting for Abubakar and those holding him by the jugular to do his worst, let him invoke the relevant section of the CRFFN Act he is talking about and let us see.
“We are in democracy, even under military rule, organizations are free to go to the courts to seek redress, let us see the power he is talking about, we are waiting for him. He cannot be bigger than the country, those who have acted like they are gods in the past ended up in disgrace ”, he said.