The impending collection of Professional Operating Fee (POF) in Nigerian ports by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has been identified as the crux of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) debacle that has raged for a year as a faction led by Chief Henry Njoku is hell bent on the collection of the fee while the Taye Oyeniyi faction is against its collection.
Collection of POF, an initiative of the Federal Government, will soon commence in Nigerian ports and is expected to rake in billions of Naira to the coffers of government a fraction of which will be slashed into ANLCA coffers.
Strangely, ANLCA leadership is ripped apart with divergent views of POF with the elders like Taye Oyeniyi, Dennis Okafor, Ernest Elochukwu positing that POF collections will not only undermine the association but impoverish the already beleaguered Nigerian people.
“CRFFN is the problem of ANLCA. We are split into two groups because of CRFFN POF,” Chief Oye Ariyo, an ANLCA BOT member, told PortNews recently. “We, my group made of notable and well meaning elders who have made their marks in this profession, are against the collection of POF by CRFFN, but the other group led by the National President, Tony Iju, Kayode Farinto and Henry Njoku are hell bent on collecting POF money for very selfish reasons, and this is why Njoku in particular is desperate to remain the BOT Chairman after twelve years,” noted Oye Ariyo who wondered why the additional POF levy when Nigerian ports are the most taxed in Africa.
Ariyo explained that all civilized attempts to stop the introduction of POF including a court case have been punctured by the Tony Iju-Henry Njoku faction who he said had promised the Ministry of Transport that if they won the ANLCA BOT election would call off all court cases and collect POF. Oye reasoned that with Njoku out of the BOT POF collection would suffer a setback.
On the BOT election crisis, Ariyo noted that it was deliberately orchestrated by the National President Tony Iju when he refused to accept the results of the election in which Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, a Port Harcourt based customs agent, defeated the incumbent Henry Njoku by five votes to three.
“Proper elections were held for the BOT and they lost. In fact the meeting where the elections were held was called by the Chairman, Chief Henry Njoku, and we had agreed that whoever loses would accept defeat and the winner would embrace the loser. But Njoku failed his own promise and chose to remain in office after twelve years and with the strange support of the National President, Iju, the crisis started. Ordinarily, by our constitution, the BOT chairman is rotated between Igbo and Yoruba and other tribes in ANLCA. Since Iju became President a Yoruba man simply should have become the BOT Chairman. So in a way, Tony Iju and his indecisiveness and his inability to say the truth as the leader is a cause of the crisis we are facing in ANLCA. A single act of wisdom demonstrating selfless love for the association by Tony Iju will solve all the crises,” Oye Ariyo told PortNews.
“Let Tony Iju come out today and accept the result of the election that made Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha the Chairman of the BOT ANLCA. Let Tony Iju and his group recognise the elections held in Western zone and ANLCA will be back to peace, stability and progress,” concluded Oye .Ariyo who is the National President of Oodua Logistics Association.