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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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Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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The giant stride of Comptroller Kolade as anti-smuggling czar 

The Eyewitness Reporter 

One year after Comptroller Kayode Kolade assumed office on the 25th January 2023 at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service, it has not been business as usual for economic saboteurs who ply the Eastern region to perpetuate their enterprise.

The FOU Zone C in Port Harcourt is the South East and South South Region including Bayelsa, Port Harcourt 1 and 2, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

Compt Kolade was enlisted into the Superintendent Cadre of the Nigeria Customs Service in 1989, making tremendous progress by rising recently to the rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2024.

He has worked in various Customs Formations in different capacities.

 To mention but just a few, he was DC in charge of the SIFAX bonded terminal in Apapa Port, he was D/C B1 Tincan Island Port, a position he occupied before he got appointed as the Acting Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri-based on his track records in revenue and anti-smuggling exploits.

He was also the Coordinator of, the Joint Border Patrol Team, Code-named: Border Drill Sector 1 Port Harcourt in 2018. Earlier in his career path, he has worked at Seme Border, KLT, FOU A and Headquarters respectively

Kayode Kolade was appointed to pilot the affairs of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri since January 2023 where his giant record speaks volumes.

Under the cerebral anti-smuggling czar, the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Zone “C” seized goods worth over N 5 billion in the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) category in the 2023 fiscal year.

Some of the items seized were pangolin scales, foreign parboiled rice, cannabis sativa (AKA Indian hemp), fake pharmaceutical products, tramadol, used vehicles, used tyres, used clothing and explosive raw materials among others.

As a result of the interventions of officers of the zone under Comptroller Kolade’s watch in checkmating the activities of fraudulent agents at the seaports, lots of revenues, hitherto lost, amounting to over N152 million were recovered.

Within the first three months of his resumption at Zone C, Comptroller Kolade dealt the first blow on smugglers with the interception of contraband goods valued at N2.8 billion between January 25 and March 25.

The unit under his watch also arrested 13 suspected smugglers during the period.The value of the goods intercepted was N2.7 billion, while the balance of N61.4 million was for demand notices the command raised based on some infractions.

The seized items include five sacks of pangolin scales, 398 sacks of Indian hemp, weighing 8,756kg and another 2,308 compressed parcels of Indian hemp of 1kg each.

The five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg and the 11,064kg of Indian hemp are the highest if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of the zone.

Other seizures were 2,600 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup packed in 26 cartons, three exotic bulletproof vehicles, 931 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing and 484 bags of smuggled rice.

Also intercepted were 31 cartons of various medicaments including tramadol; 32 jerry cans of petrol and 540 pieces of used tyres.

Between July 25 and September 23, 2023, the FOU Zone C dealt another major blow on smugglers with the interception of cannabis sativa, raw materials for the production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.6 billion.The Zone also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures.

Eagle-eyed officers of the command also intercepted nine sacks of 50kg each of explosive materials namely fertilizer, device cables and superpower chemicals.

The Superpower 90 which was intercepted by the unit is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting

Other items seized include 1,329 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign rice; 417 sacks of cannabis sativa weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of the same substance totaling 627kg.

Also impounded are one unit of an armored bullion van, 761 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing, and 883 cartons of various.

 unregistered/expired medicaments, 192 packets of 225mg of tramadol, 100 cartons of wine, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres and 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste.

Meanwhile, freight forwarders operating in the maritime sector have commended the sagacity of Comptroller Kayode Kolade as a disciplined officer and a fine gentleman.

He has attended many courses as Nigeria Customs representative both locally and internationally, worthy of mention includes: INDIA trip courses on enforcement of Government Fiscal policy and Revenue, among others.

He is a recipient of many Awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

The most cherished is the commendation letter for outstanding performance in anti-smuggling operations from the former Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) in 2017 while he was the coordinator of CGC Strike Force Team Zone ‘C’ covering the South-South/South-East States.

He also received a lot of Merit Awards as Best Enforcement Officer at the various Customs formations where he worked from the media, too numerous to mention.

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Customs suspends officer, hands over to Police over alleged collection of N.5 million bribe from car buyer

The Eyewitness Reporter

The  Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘B’ of the Nigeria Customs Service based in Kaduna has apprehended an officer over his alleged involvement in a N500,000 bribery scandal.
The undisclosed officer, who is a member of the roving team of the FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, along Mokwa- Jebba road, Niger State, was said to have demanded and collected a gratification of the sum of N500,000 from one Mohammed Dahiru, a car buyer, for a favour.
Disclosing this to journalists while handing over the suspect to the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM) Customs Police Unit, Kaduna,
Comptroller of the units, Dalha Wada Chedi, said a full-scale investigation has been instituted to determine the extent of the culpability of the suspended officer.
Comptroller Chedi, while addressing newsmen in the premises of the Unit, confirmed that the suspected Officer involved in this unwholesome act is indeed an operative of the Unit deployed to Mokwa Patrol Team in Niger State, lamenting that the unfortunate incident occurred in the early hour of Thursday 22nd February 2024 as reported by the complainant.

“Upon hearing the alleged unfortunate incident, I directed the Customs Police Unit in the Zone that is responsible for enforcing discipline in the Service to apprehend the Officer and move him to the Unit’s Headquarters here in Kaduna for further interrogation.
“Also, the Complainant was invited to assist in the investigation as well”, disclosed the Comptroller.

He added that “The Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management team frowned at such unruly behavior as such, the disciplinary committee will be diligent and firm.

” In fact, the Service is very pragmatic and practical in disciplinary cases and this one will not be an exception”.

Comptroller Chedi thereafter handed over the suspected Officer to the APM Customs Police Unit for further investigation.

 In his words, “The Officer is hereby handed over to the APM Customs Police Unit for discreet investigation and the findings of the investigation will be transmitted to NCS-HQ for further action by the Nigeria Customs Service Board as it is the only body that handles the appointment, promotions and discipline of all Senior Officers of the Service”.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced,” concluded the irate Comptroller.

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