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Arewa Youths Forum tackles Customs over lopsided promotions of officers

CGC, Ali
—–alleges nepotism, favourism 
 Story by Muhammad Sabiu( Kaduna )and Kelvin Kagbare( Lagos)
Even as top Customs top brass grapple with technical issues militating against the economically rewarding deployment of the Vehicle Identification Number, (VIN), there are indications of turbulence in administrative matters likely to significantly jeopardize operational efficiency of Customs if not immediately looked into and resolved.
This Administrative hoopla has been brought to public attention by the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum,  AYCF,  re-echoing the need for the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to reconsider the policy of elevating its officers who joined Customs between 2009 and 2015 and leaving behind those who joined the Service between 1992 and 1994.
The Arewa youths are of the view that officers of the Service  who have spent close to thirty years on the same rank, through no fault of theirs must be given right of fair hearing and treated justlyⁿ
The AYCF put the blame squarely on the doorstep of the Federal Government which placed an embargo on recruitment within the period.
In a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima in Kaduna, the group said “It has come to our notice that the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is set to pursue a policy of exclusion in the promotion of its personnel, based on illegitimate criteria”.
“We gathered that the plan in the offing is to exclusively promote personnel who joined the service between the year 2009 and 2015″
Decrying the selective promotion, the AYCF said “Customs officers who have been on the same rank for decades must be considered for promotion if the principles of Justice, Fairness and Equity have a place in our society”.
“The action of the Service is now predicated on the pedestrian argument that there has been no fresh recruitment into the Service between 1992 and 1994, up until 2015 when the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan lifted the embargo”.
To this end, the Arewa Youths noted that the gap created by the embargo is not the fault of the officers who gave all of their mental and physical energies in the service of this nation for over three decades.
“We find totally unacceptable, any policy that will allow promotion of Customs Service personnel through the backdoor”.
“We expect that the philosophy of respect for the procedure, which President Muhammadu Buhari has been known for should be allowed to prevail in the circumstance”.
Expressing its disappointment over the non-promotion of some officers in the Service, the AYCF notes further;
“We are disturbed that the Nigeria Customs Service could even contemplate this selective and unprofessional method of promoting its personnel without recourse to established procedure”.
“We find it quite disappointing that the NCS would pursue this unacceptable method, apparently without recourse to the office of the Minister of Finance and National Planning or even the advice of either the office of Head of Service of the Federation or that of Secretary to the Government of the Federation”.
“We call on the National Assembly  to also step in, to ensure that this controversial and dangerously selective policy does not see the light of the day.”
The AYCF  categorically stated that in view of the importance of the NCS to national security,  the DSS needs to be part of the process that will promote respect for the rule of law in rewarding personnel of the Service in general and on the philosophy of first-among-equals.
The Arewa youths, therefore, urged the Service to consider the promotion of officers employed by the Service from 1990 to date from the Rank and File to their rank of Assistant Comptrollers and beyond.
They say this will create a sense of belonging which will bring about discipline among officers in the Service.
Fundamentally,  the AYCF observed that the old officers who did not rise in rank over the long period of time have been very diligent and committed to the Service but, through no fault of theirs remain stuck in rank.
“It was the gross act of corruption, nepotism and favouritism in Nigeria Customs Service that stagnated the promotion of the old officers”
The Arewa youths averred that management of the Service is paving way for their recently employed children from the year 2009 to date.
They, therefore, call on the Federal Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency look into this matter with the deserved sense of urgency for the national good.
The AYCF declared that the automatic one step ahead of only newly employed officers will destroy the morale of experienced officers in the Service.
“The consequences of such action or inaction will be catastrophic to the Nigeria Customs Service,” the AYC said.
When contacted on the unfortunate development, the National Public Relations Officer of the NCS, DC Timi Bomodi said “The Service is looking at options to bridge its generational gap occasioned by years of not recruiting. That is only one of its options. Speculating on the intentions of Customs Management is at best a distraction for now”.
As challenges and issues assume a worrisome projectile for the Service, concerned stakeholders are calling for a thorough reevaluation of all issues and addressing them in the interest of socio-cultural national cohesion and wellbeing.
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Nnadi, Tin Can CAC, makes historic visit to MARAN to deepen mutual working relationship.

Funso Olojo 
Apparently acknowledging the pioneering status of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria(MARAN) as a leading light in maritime journalism, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Area Controller of the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, storms the International Press Centre of the flagship maritime journalists group Friday, July 12th, 2024.
Nnadi’s visit to the Secretariat of MARAN on 13c Marine Road, Apapa is geared towards forging a strong bond and mutually beneficial working relationship between his command and MARAN.
MARAN hopes to, among other issues, engage the Controller of Tin Can Island Customs Command on the activities of the Command in boosting trade for the overall benefit of the nation.
Comptroller Nnadi has remained a dedicated officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with visible impacts in various Commands he has presided over in the past.
He also has a shining antecedent as an articulated and astute public relations person when he held sway as a public relations officer of Apapa command as a middle-cadre officer before his deserving string of promotions and eventual elevation to his present enviable status as a command’s helmsman.
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House of Representatives beams searchlight on bonded terminals, free trade zones over influx of arms, ammunition into Nigeria

—as Customs realises N2.742 trillion in six months 
Funso Olojo 
Apparently alarmed by the avalanche of seizures of arms and ammunition made by the Nigeria Customs Service recently, the House Committee on Customs and Excise has vowed to scrutinize the operational activities of the country’s bonded terminals and free trade zones.
This decision was made in the belief that these facilities are being used as conduit pipes to smuggle these dangerous weapons into the country.
Revealing the move of the lawmakers on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 while on an oversight visit to the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, the Chairman, House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide, said the probe was aimed at identifying the complicit operators and eradicating their nefarious activities.
It would be recalled that the Customs, in quick succession, make seizures of large caches of arms and ammunition at Tin Can Port, Onne Port and Lagos ports, the quantity of which alarmed the Nigerian government.
While leading other members of the committee to the Customs headquarters, Abejide commended the vigilance, efficiency and dedication of men and officers of the customs for these seizures and their impressive record of revenue generation
 “We will scrutinise the activities of Bonded Terminals and the operations of the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) facilities across the country to identify and eradicate any illegal businesses and activities”, the lawmaker declared.
 Abejide applauded the outstanding revenue generation, trade facilitation and the Service’s recent achievements in the seizures of arms and ammunition in a Bonded Terminal in Onne Port, Rivers State.
The Chairman also commended a similar seizure made by the officers of NCS Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos  State, which, according to him, is a testament to Customs vigilance and effectiveness.
He observed that the seizures have potentially saved countless Nigerian lives, demonstrating the exceptional skills and dedication of NCS personnel in protecting the nation’s borders.
He urged the NCS officers not to relax, stating that “Every weapon and illicit item seized is a victory, but every attempt to smuggle them into Nigeria is a call to redouble our efforts.”
Responding, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, said the service is indeed grateful for such commendation, recognition, and applause from the House Committee on Customs and Excise.
The CGC stated that the presence of the House committee underscores the critical role that legislative oversight plays in ensuring the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of NCS operations and project implementation.
According to him, as committee members, their dedication to scrutinising and supporting NCS activities is invaluable.
 “The insight you bring into the oversight function and the guidance you have always provided helps Customs to serve the nation better, facilitate trade and secure the borders while collecting revenue, vital to the economy.”
‘’In all aspects of our work and projects, I want to assure you that we submit wholeheartedly to legislative compliance, and we will be willing to implement directive resolutions given to us in the day-to-day operation of the Nigeria Customs Service.
“Your feedback and recommendations are crucial to our efforts to streamline our processes to improve our efficiency and uphold the highest standard of integrity and services,” he stated.
Giving a breakdown of the success stories of the NCS, Caroline Niagwan, the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Tariff and Trade, said the service was able to generate 2.742trillion naira within the first half of 2024, surpassing the first half of the year’s expected revenue target of 2.539trillion naira, representing 54 percent of the revenue target for the year.
She said, “In the period under review, the average daily revenue collection has been N27.5 billion daily, surpassing the target of N19.460 billion
“The service has achieved a 126.64 percent increase within the first half of the year due to teamwork and measures put in place to block revenue leakages.
“We have an outstanding 2.168 trillion to collect.”
She noted that for the service to align with international best practices, trade facilitation tools have been upgraded to Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programs where reliable and compliant traders are rewarded for taking their goods with little or no customs control when they meet specific safety and security standards.
Also speaking, Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Bello Jibo, revealed that ‘Operation Whirlwind’ had made a lot of seizures of petroleum products.
 He revealed that NCS is collaborating with the NNPC to achieve so much.
“On the issue of security, the CGC held a press conference in Onne, Port-Harcourt, where a container fully loaded with arms and ammunition was arrested by our officers, which was later handed over to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
” We collaborate and exchange intelligence among ourselves to enhance our activities.’’ DCG Jibo stated.
Furthermore, the Assistant-Comptroller General in charge of Information and Communication Technology, Kikelomo Adeola, revealed that unit officers built the application for the e-auction.
She stated that capacity-building programs are ongoing as part of the deliverables of the Trade Modernization Project, in addition to the provision of software and hardware components of the exercise.
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Adeniyi, CGC, performs groundbreaking ceremony of 30-bed ultra-modern reference hospital in Bauchi

 Funso Olojo
The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, on Monday, 8 July 2024, performs a groundbreaking ceremony for a 30-bed ultra-modern reference hospital donated by  Abdul Samad Rabiu (ASR) Initiative for Africa in Bauchi.
Speaking at the event, CGC Adewale Adeniyi expressed profound gratitude to the ASR Initiative for their generous contribution, emphasising the project’s significance in enhancing the welfare of customs officers and the local community.
“We are happy to be a recipient of this great project. It will immensely help our officers and the entire community,” he stated.
Dr. Ubong Udoh, CEO of the ASR Initiative for Africa, extended his appreciation to CGC Adeniyi for honouring his commitment by attending the ceremony.
He highlighted the enduring nature of the partnership between the ASR Initiative and the NCS, noting the limitless potential of their collaborative efforts.
“I believe the potential of what we can achieve as partners is limitless,” Dr. Udoh remarked.
Hon. Tanko Dutse, representing the local community, thanked the CGC for supporting the NCS office in Bauchi.
He acknowledged the office’s positive impact on security and other local issues.
“The community and state at large appreciate the presence of the NCS. This hospital will allow our people who lack the means to access other medical facilities to receive necessary healthcare.
“We appeal for more of such Corporate Social Responsibilities,” he said.
Architect Muktar Aliyu, the project manager,  assured attendees of the hospital’s potential to revolutionise healthcare services in the area.
 “This 30-bed ultra-modern hospital is a commitment to healthcare and the community’s future.
“Together, we can build a legacy of resilience and quality healthcare,” he stated.
The groundbreaking ceremony marks a significant milestone in the NCS’s efforts to enhance the welfare of its personnel and contribute to the community’s well-being, reflecting the strong partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service and the ASR Initiative for Africa.
In a separate engagement, the CGC addressed the officers and men serving in  Zone  D Headquarters, Bauchi/Gombe Area Command and Federal Operations Unit Zone D,
“I am here to encourage you to do more by effectively discharging the statutory functions of NCS in this Zone.
“Make sure you utilise the opportunity at your disposal to improve yourselves intellectually in preparation for future challenges. “
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