By Innocent Orok
The internal crises among some personalities in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) took a new turn, as some aggrieved person’s in the Association has written to the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise not to recognize the IJU Tony Nwabunike’s led National Executive Committee ( NECOM) as well as the Dr Taiwo Afolabi Chaired Board of Trustees (BOT) of the association.
But in a swift reaction to the expelled members letter, the association NECOM has written to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Customs & Excise , Hon. Leke Abejide to disregard such letter addressed to his office on behalf of the “Registered Trustees Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)”.
The contending parties have a pending case in Court, which was filed by the latter with suit No: FHC/L/CS/921/2020 between Obokun Freight Forwarders Limited & 3 Ors v. Registered Trustees of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) & 29 Ors. The originating case however dates back to 2018, with suit No: FHC/L/CS/1274/2018.
According to the National Officers of ANLCA, the said letter dated 11th of October, 2021 should be jettisoned, as there was no basis for same being sent in the first place after both parties have submitted their issues for the adjudication of the Court.
The association, in a rejoinder addressed to Hon. Abejide’s office on October 13, 2021, and signed by its legal representative, D.A Awosika (SAN) said that the letter by the “Registered Trustees” was maliciously written without a proper grasp of the extant proceedings before the Court, and with the intention to drive the association into another round of internal crisis.
The letter read in part: “Our clients were sued as 2nd- 24th Defendants in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/921/2020 between Obokun Freight Forwarders Limited & 3 Ors v. Registered Trustees of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) & 29 Ors which was formerly before Honourable Justice R.M. Aikawa but is now pending before Honourable Justice D.E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“In the course of the above stated suit and upon the service of the Originating Process and the Interim Order of Injunction made on the 26th of August, 2020, we responded and filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court and the Application is dated the 22nd day of July, 2021 and is still pending for the determination of the Honourable Court.
“The basis of our objection before the Court is that the Plaintiffs in the aforementioned case surreptitiously approached the Federal High Court for reliefs, but failed to disclose in their Originating summons that they were not parties to the judgment delivered in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1274/2018 between Sky Sail Nigeria Limited & Anor v. Registered Trustees of Nierian Licensed Customs Agents & Ors which they are seeking to enforce and take benefit of in the extant suit before Justice Aikawa.
“We have to state here that the Notice of preliminary objection has not been determined and as such all parties are expected to respect the sanctity of the Court where an application is pending for determination and not do any act that will prejudice or preempt the outcome of the application submitted to the Court.
“It is our view that the letter addressed to your office dated 11th of October, 2021 on behalf of the Registered Trustees Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who was sued as the 1st Defendant: the aforementioned case pending before the Federal High Court Lagos is in itself contemptuous and a disregard to the proceedings pending before the Federal High Court Lagos.
“It is our position that disregarding the said letter will protect the sacredness of the judiciary as the third arm of government as well as prevent any irreparable loss to the above captioned association”.
The National Officers of ANLCA further said that it has no reason to lose confidence in the fact the Judiciary is able to properly determine the suit already before it and same will pave way for progress for the association and every other party involved therein.
The association urged Hon. Abejide to support the effort of the judiciary by “appropriately disregarding the letter dated 11th October, 2021”.
The letter was also copied to the President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Comptroller-General of Customs; the Managing Partner Lagos Office, Afe Babalola & Co and the Registrar, Hon. Justice Osiagor’s Court, Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos.