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Customs demonises officer amidst claims of official complicity in smuggling of petroleum products across border

Comptroller Adesanmi Omiye
The Eyewitness reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has described as an “unstable mind” one of his patrol officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit Zone D in Adamawa over his outlandish claims which indicted a customs controller of compromise in the smuggling of petroleum products across the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
The unnamed officer, in a viral video, showing fully-loaded tankers carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as Petrol along Nigeria- Cameroon border, claimed that the products were being smuggled across the border to Cameroon.
The officer, speaking in Yoruba, further claimed that after he stopped the tankers with smuggled products, he was allegedly summoned by a customs Controller whose name he didn’t mention, claiming that he was being threatened for daring to stop the illicit act.
While pouring vituperation on the unnamed Controller, he said he has spent 11 years at the borders, stopping the smuggling of Nigerian oil across the borders, but was never rewarded with juicy postings to the choice commands in Lagos ports or Seme border.
Mr Adesanmi Omiye is the Customs Comptroller in charge of the zone.
Reacting to the embarrassing viral video, the Customs Service dismissed the claims of the officer whom it said was of an unstable mind.
In the statement signed by the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, the said officer has since been arrested and awaiting medical evaluation.
 “Nigeria Customs Service is compelled to respond to a recent video making the rounds on social media.

” This video depicts a half-clad individual recording himself while claiming to have arrested trucks carrying premium motor spirit across the border as an officer of Nigeria Customs Service.

“The facts are as follows; the person in the video is indeed an officer of Nigeria Customs Service, and he is currently attached to the Federal Operations Unit Zone D in Adamawa.

“This incident occurred on Wednesday 2nd of November 2022 at Malabo Checkpoint on Belel Road, Adamawa state.

” It is important to note that 55 kilometers separate this location from the nearest border.

“Between the place where this incident occurred and the border, there are fully operational petrol stations.

” Preliminary investigations indicate that the drivers on these trucks were in possession of duly signed product distribution sheets for consignments allocated by PPMC for filling stations within that vicinity.

” As vehicles in transit, they are considered still to be well within city limits and therefore can neither be accused of nor arrested for transporting goods across the border.

“All our officers are compelled by a strict dress code to not only be in uniform while on duty, but to adorn their name tags for easy identification by members of the public.

“The state in which this officer depicted himself in this video, his comportment and his speech suggests a level of incoherence associated with people of an unstable mind.

” Indeed, his actions led to his immediate withdrawal by the Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘D’, who instructed his detention pending medical evaluation.

“The NCS seriously frowns at any action that is inimical to the economic well-being of our nation.

” Our battle with smuggling has been unequivocal and unyielding. Our checkpoints are usually manned by a team of officers all of whom are assigned specific responsibilities.

“The levels of checks and counter-checks created as part of the NCS strategic enforcement initiative have made it extremely difficult for breaches to occur.

“Nigeria Customs Service wants to assure members of the public of the commitment of its officers and men to securing our borders.

“We ask for your understanding in this endeavor even as we seek your prayers for those whose health and well-being may have been compromised by stress while carrying out their onerous assignment” the statement concluded.
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As Customs elevates 357 junior officers, Adeniyi charges new graduates to trigger change through continuous learning

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has elevated 357 junior service staff from the ranks of Customs Assistant I (CAI) to Inspector of Customs (IC).
 This significant decision was ratified during the 7th management meeting of 2023, chaired by the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi on December 1, 2023.
The comprehensive promotion list encompasses both the General Duty(GD) and Support Staff (SS) personnel who excelled in the 2023 promotion exercise.
The breakdown of promoted officers is as follows: AIC to IC (246) GD, AIC to IC (37) SS, CAI to AIC (39) GD, CAI to AIC (27) SS, CAII to CAI (7) SS, CAIII to CAII (1) GD.
According to the statement by the Customs’ National Public relations officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, the  strategic advancement mirrors the visionary leadership of the
Comptroller-General, emphasising motivation, recognising excellence, and rewarding diligence within the service.
In extending his heartfelt congratulations, Adeniyi urged
the newly promoted officers to redouble their efforts in fulfilling the service’s core mandates of Revenue Generation, Suppression of Smuggling, and Trade Facilitation.
In another development, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has emphasized the significance of embracing continuous learning for the recently graduated officers from Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17.
He made this statement during the passing out of the Customs graduates on 8 December 2023 at the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College Gwagwalada, Abuja,
The CGC, represented the  Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, Sa’idu Galadima, in charge of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), highlighted the importance of professionalism and integrity and urged the graduates to uphold high standards in their service.
He also encouraged them to use the opportunities in their various commands and take calculated risks.
ACG Kingsley Egwuh, the Commandant of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College Gwagwalada praised the graduates for their dedication towards the betterment of the service and the nation.
Expressing satisfaction with their 100% success rate, he emphasized diverse training areas, including academic standards, proficiency, and weapon handling.
He said, “All graduates should give their careers a purposeful meaning, shun all vices against growth and development, and uphold the motto of the Nigeria Customs Service, which is Justice and Honesty.”
The Commandant revealed ongoing projects, including replacing dilapidated chairs in the college hall and installing solar panels.
ACG Egwu, while praising the graduates, expressed optimism that the acquired training would enhance their performance. He thanked CGC Adeniyi and his Management Team for their unwavering support, including approving an African Study Tour to Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tunisia.
Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies, Comptroller  Oluyomi Adebakin, stated that the curriculum of the Senior and Junior courses aims to develop human capacity and establish a more effective and efficient Customs allocation. She highlighted the dedication to enhancing officers’ skills and abilities with a high level of moral standards.
The Special Guest of Honor, Senator Isah Echocho, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, highlighted the global economic challenges and stressed the importance of positively impacting society. He expressed hope that the graduates’ ability to advance in technological advancements would contribute to elevating Nigeria’s economy.
Similarly, The college hosted a regimental dinner night to honor the graduates of Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17. The evening celebrated academic achievements and underscored the disciplined ethos of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Amidst the regimental splendor, the night served as a reminder of the service’s proud heritage and the graduates’ responsibility to carry forward the torch of discipline and tradition.
The structured rituals and ceremonial aura encapsulated the ethos of the Nigeria Customs Service, providing a fitting culmination to the accomplishments of Senior Course 9 and Junior Course 17.
The evening concluded with a sense of accomplishment and pride, marking not only the end of academic pursuits but also the beginning of a journey for these graduates to carry forward the values of the Nigeria Customs Service with honor and dedication.
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Maiwada, Customs’ chief spokesman, receives diadem over his public relations prowess

The Eyewitness Reporter

The  National Public Relations of the Nigeria Customs Service,  Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, has been honored with the prestigious ‘Spokesperson of the Year’ Award by Spokesperson’s Digest, a division of Image Merchant Public Relations.

The event, held in Abuja and attended by distinguished personalities, showcased Maiwada’s exceptional public relations contributions and unwavering commitment to the Nigeria Customs Service.

In an exclusive post-award speech,  Maiwada shared insights into the driving forces behind his success.

“This accolade not only acknowledges my dedication but also inspires me to elevate my contributions further.

” My motivation comes from a deep passion for my work and the unwavering support of my dedicated team,” he stated emphatically.

Known for his dynamic leadership style, Maiwada attributed the success to the collaborative efforts of his staff.

He added, “Today’s recognition is a testament to the collective efforts of my team, serving as a motivating force to strive for excellence.”

Beyond the immediate team, Maiwada expressed gratitude for the motivational guidance he receives from the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management Team.

“He highlighted his belief in extracting the best from his work, adding, “I believe in getting the best out of my work, and this passion, combined with the support of my team and the guidance from my elders, has been the driving force behind my success.”

The National PRO, recognized not just for his professional acumen but also for his commitment to mentorship, urged organizers to continue appreciating the dedication and enthusiasm of media practitioners and agencies.

He emphasized the need to sustain a culture of recognition for those making significant contributions in their respective fields.

In his closing remarks, Maiwada extended heartfelt appreciation to the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs Headquarters Adeogun Alajogun, who represented the CGC at the event for his unwavering support, acknowledging his pivotal role in his accomplishments as the direct supervisor of the Nigeria Customs Service Public Relations Unit.

The ceremony not only celebrated an individual’s achievement but also highlighted the collaborative spirit and dedication within the Nigeria Customs Service, reinforcing their commitment to excellence in public relations.

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Customs promises to mitigate impact of increase in duty exchange rate through trade facilitation 

The Eyewitness Reporter The Nigeria Customs Service has  again reiterated its commitment to trade facilitation when it promised to mitigate against the impact of the recent increase in duty exchange rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

It could be recalled that on December 7th, 2023, for the umpteen time and the second time in four weeks, CBN raised the Customs duty exchange rate to N951.941 per dollar.The rate was jerked up a month ago in November from N770.88 per dollar to N783.174 per dollar.

The latest duty exchange rate has since been reflected on the Customs portal.

Before the latest increase, the exchange rate for customs duty in June was N420 per dollar before it was jerked up to N775 per dollar in July.

Shortly after that, it jumped to N778 per dollar before the latest increase to N951.941 per dollar.

However, the customs has explained that it would ensure that there is a minimum delay in the customs process in order to ensure customs agents take delivery of their cargo without incurring demurrage.

Explaining the position of the customs on the increase yesterday, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Tin Can Customs Area controller, said there was little the customs could do over the fiscal and monetary policies which he said are within the purview of the federal government while the customs merely implements them.

Comptroller Nnadi, who was speaking yesterday, December 7th, 2023 at the 25th silver jubilee anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors in Lagos, pleaded for the patience and understanding of the trading public and admonished them to comply with the policy for the good of the society.He said that the customs learnt about the latest increase just like any other Nigerian.

Nnadi, however, promised that the customs, especially his command, Tin Can Island Port, would try to optimise its service delivery by facilitating trade to minimize the anticipated delays and resultant demurrage in order to mitigate the effects of the sudden increase.

“We are all affected, including the customs officers, by the increase.

“There is no separate supermarket where they sell customs bread”

” We as Nigeria Customs officers, just like other Nigerians, woke up this morning( Yesterday, December 7th) to find out that the exchange rate, which is the yardstick for the collection of customs duty, has been jerked up.

” Before June/ July, it was 420 per dollar, by July, it jumped to N775 to dollars, shortly after, it jumped to N778 to a dollar and this morning (yesterday, December 7th), it was increased to N951.941per dollar.

” We understand the implication of this on trade, bearing in mind letters of credit have been opened, contracts have been signed, supplies have been made, and people have negotiated business transactions based on the previous exchange rate.

” And we recognize the import of this exchange rate on trade.

” We recognize what the Nigeria business community is going through but there is little we can do as customs service about the fiscal and monetary policies.

” Our role is to implement them, we do not make these policies and we align ourselves with government decisions.

” Every decision taken by government is for the collective interest of the nation and we expect that we must all abide by it.

” As Customs, what we can do to mitigate the impact of what the trading public is going to go through in the next few days because of the increase in the exchange rate is to optimise our service delivery where there are expected delays in customs process to make up for this sudden increase.

“We will try to facilitate trade so that whatever little money you would have paid on demurrage, you can now use it to make up for this sudden increase and that is what I can manage.

“We do this because if the agents go back to their importers and ask them to raise additional funds to augment the one they have paid because of the sudden increase, the importers may find it difficult to raise the money and there will be delay and the attendant demurrage.

” So what we can do as customs service, is to minimize these expected delays through facilitation of trade.

” The Nigeria Customs Service cannot manage the other aspect of price increase because that is the function of federal government directive” Comptroller Nnadi explained in a very comprehensive manner to exonerate the customs service from these sudden increases in the exchange rates.

He however believed that most of the trade activities in Nigeria are being heavily subsidized by the government which makes citizens of the neighbouring countries cross the borders to Nigeria to buy goods in Nigeria.

” But I am by no means justifying the incessant and sudden increments in tariff.

” But Nigerians must be patriotic enough to obey government policies when they are issued because every government policy is issued in the best interest of the people” the Customs chief sermonises.

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