Connect with us


Adewale Adeniyi: The new Sheriff in Customs.

The Eyewitness Reporter
The last eight years in the Nigeria Customs Service have been characterised by undulating performance.
It has been a mixed bag of fortunes and misfortunes, rise and fall and tragicomedy in the performance of the service.
During those years, the rating of the service plummeted in the eye of the public and the stakeholders who were detached from the cold attitude of the top hierarchy of the Customs were not amused.
Most of the policies and actions of the service, most of which were devoid of human face, brought the agency into direct conflict with the public and the stakeholders due to the leadership style of the man who directed the affairs of the service for those years.
During those years, the officers were muffled and the stakeholders were ruffled.
Then came Adewale Adeniyi, the new Sheriff in Town.
Adeniyi ascended the high stool of Customs as the Customs Comptroller General at a time when the morale of officers was at the lowest ebb.
However, his coming, within the short period of three months, has brought hope, joy and renewed enthusiasm among the officers while it has sparked off a newfound love among the stakeholders who are elated over the crowning of the home-grown officer.
The fortune of the service which dipped during the last eight years and its public rating which plummeted within that period due to the rein of a non-customer officer as the head, have now suddenly sprang to life with the coming of the new Sheriff.
In June 2023, the appointment of Adeniyi as the new CGC by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu marked a turning point in the affairs of the Customs.
It signalled a rebirth of the service which has been grappling with unfavourable public opinion.
As expected, the appointment of the new Sheriff sparked a spontaneous jubilation and exhilaration among the staff of the service and the stakeholders.
This was expected given the professional acumen of the new CGC and his impressive track record in a service he had held sway for the past 30 years.
Adeniyi, as a thoroughbred professional in customs administration and human relations, immediately brought remarkable changes from the stiff and top-of-horse leadership approach of the last eight years.
As an astute public relations expert, Adeniyi immediately went on an extensive engagement with all his officers and critical stakeholders.
He first engaged the powers that be with his direct engagement of Mr President, Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwolu and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.
He also paid homage to the traditional rulers, including the Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
He thereafter engaged the officers, one-on-one at the Headquarters, interacting with them in their various offices under the air of camaraderie, displaying a rare leadership style that was alien in the last years in the service.
He then followed this up with a tour of the commands where he met with the officers before he headed to the border communities where he made a lot of efforts to create an atmosphere of mutual trust, support and harmonious relationship with the host communities and the customs, a vital ingredient that have long been lost to the last eight years of deep-seated suspicion and acrimony that were engendered by the the unfriendly posture of the last regime.
Not done, the new CGC also engaged the members of the maritime media, his constituency during his almost two-decade-long impressive rein as the super public relations officer of the service.
Adeniyi was not unmindful of his counterpart across the border in the Benin Republic to whom he paid homage in a bid to foster a harmonious working relationship that would promote trade and discourage smuggling between the two West African neighbours.
The lawmakers were also not left out in his extensive and strategic engagement as he hosted the members of the Senate Committee on Customs.
In addition, members of various government organizations and private bodies tasted the irresistible lure of Wale’s hospitality.
He didn’t leave the freight forwarders out of his public engagement as he made direct contact with them in their area of operations.
Adeniyi also reinvigorated the  Corporate Social Responsibility(CRS) of the service by visiting a motherless baby home in Ibadan where he promised to reactivate the milk of human kindness in the Customs under his leadership.
There was hardly any segment of society that Adeniyi did not court its cooperation and support to have an inclusive administration that is anchored on the goodwill of the people.
That is the hallmark of leadership excellence.
Adeniyi, as a versatile public relations expert, achieved a dual purpose with this extensive and strategic engagement.
First, he used it to reunite the customs with the critical stakeholders who had hitherto felt alienated by the detached managerial style of the last administration in customs.
Secondly, it used the engagement to launch the customs into a new path of operational rebirth where the new management he leads will carry out its onerous task with full cooperation and collaboration of critical stakeholders.
Similarly, the disbandment of the controversial CGC strike force and streamlining of the mushroom customs checkpoints has also endeared the new Sheriff to the stakeholders, especially the freight forwarders, who had had cause to complain in the past about the excesses of those special forces.
Adeniyi also showed his vast understanding of customs operations when he made trade facilitation the fulcrum of his administration.
All over the world, the Customs has duties to facilitate trade, collect revenue, detect and prevent smuggling, with none of the functions running counter against the others.
But over the years, especially in the last eight years, trade facilitation has been subjugated to revenue collection to the chagrin of stakeholders, but the decision of the new CAC not to injure trade facilitation in pursuit of revenue and smugglers is welcomed by the appreciative freight forwarders.
It is more gratifying to note that the new CGC has promised to break away from the past crude method of anti-smuggling tactics which had led to the avoidable death of officers and innocent people.
He hoped to achieve this by relying more on the deployment of technology which will maximise performance and minimise casualties.
The triumph of brain over brawn.
As the 14th indigenous Comptroller-General of Customs and 31st since its establishment in 1891, Wale Adeniyi, a brilliant public relations expert who is well grounded in Customs operations, Adeniyi is fast becoming a new face of the customs, a beckon of hope for the officers and stakeholders who have been yarning for a change from the last eight years of mutual suspicion and acrimony between the customs and its publics.
Stakeholders have therefore hailed the  Nigerian Customs Service Act, especially Section 14(1)(a) of the Act,  which states that “The President shall appoint a career officer from the Service, not below the rank of Assistant-Comptroller General (who shall be responsible for the overall management of the service) and be accountable for all revenue collections and all expenditures made under this Act”.
It was this new Act that enabled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discover and unleash the talents and professional acumen of Wale Adeniyi on the customs for maximum impact.
Until his appointment, Adeniyi was in charge of Strategic Research and Policy at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.
A professional who is conscious of the need to build a solid image for the agency, Adeniyi once served as customs spokesman for almost two decades until January 2017 when he was redeployed to the Apapa Area Command as a Deputy Comptroller.

He was promoted to the rank of Comptroller in 2017 and appointed Deputy Commandant of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.

In 2019, he was redeployed to serve as the Controller of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command, Lagos.

He was promoted to the rank of Assistant Comptroller General in February 2020 shortly after he supervised the seizure of $8.07 million cash being illegally taken out of Nigeria through the E-Wing of the international airport tarmac. He was subsequently posted to head the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja as Commandant.

In recognition of his service, former President Muhammadu Buhari, on October 11, 2022, conferred the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) on Adeniyi.

Stakeholders are unanimous in their conviction that the Nigeria Customs Service will witness a galloping development, turn around of fortunes and professional excellence under the stewardship of  Adeniyi.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling

The Eyewitness Reporter

The anti-smuggling efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service has received a boost with the support of the United Nations agency,
United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat.
The Customs got the assurance of collaboration from the UN agency on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, when the acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi hosted the ambassadors of the global agency led by Dr. Raymond Edoh in his office.
Adeniyi told his guests that the Service, under his watch, will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy to cripple their ‘illegitimate’ business of smuggling.

“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”

He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.

The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.

The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

“What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.

He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.

He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.

Continue Reading


MARAN raises alarm over continued depreciation of Customs’ N180 billion boats on Lagos Marina waters —- calls on CGC Adeniyi to deploy the assets

Wale Adeniyi, Ag, CGC
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) has called on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, to rescue the N180 billion Customs patrol boats from further depreciation on the Lagos Marina waters.
In a statement issued by the foremost maritime journalists group, the anti-smuggling patrol boats procured by the former President Goodluck Jonathan Administration for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), have been abandoned since 2015 at the Marina Lagos waterfront.
The group noted with concern that more than eight years after procurement, and many years after the immediate past administration of Customs led by Hameed Ali promised that the two patrol boats would be rescued from disuse, the boats have rather become a pitiable sight as most of its gadgets have gone useless.
” More pathetic and anger-inducing is the fact that the patrol boats, which consume more than N5 billion as annual maintenance fees have, however, not been put into use even after being commissioned by former Customs boss, Rtd Col. Hameed Ali.
“It is more unpardonable to note that while these vessels are being eaten away daily by termites, the officers and men of the Western and Eastern Marine Commands of the Customs go on patrol operations on the waterways with obsolete and smaller patrol boats that have made them easy prey for smugglers.
“Many have lost their lives in the process.
“Inside sources claimed that the boats are more than overdue for dry-docking and routine maintenance, going by the manufacturer’s specification.
“It will be recalled that the procurement of the patrol boats was initiated by the management of NCS  led by the late Abdullahi Dikko Inde, to boost its marine anti-smuggling operations.
“At that time, the NCS operations, according to research, were at their lowest point because of a lack of functional patrol boats and other operational equipment to withstand smugglers with sophisticated fast-moving equipment, fully armed.
“The government awarded the contract to build the boats to a South African firm, Kobus Naval Design , KND, in 2012.
“The then Jonathan-led Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved N3 billion for the procurement of the two NCS patrol boats for the surveillance of Nigeria waters.
“Based on the order, the two vessels, named ”Customs Pride” and” Group of Nine”  were slated to be delivered to the NCS within  10 months but were not until April 2015, three years behind schedule.
“The total cost of building the two patrol boats by the firm catapulted to over N180bn from the initial approved sum, raising questions about perceived sharp practices.
“The patrol boats, which were delivered to the NCS in April 2015  have since then berthed at the Marina Waterfronts, Lagos, where it is idling and rotting away at significant cost of maintenance to the NCS.
“While commissioning the two sea-going boats in September 2019, the CG of Customs, Hameed Ali, admitted that the Service has been weak on the waterways compared to the land and that this necessitated the purchase of the two boats.
“This situation, he agreed, led to the death of nine Customs marine officers while confronting deadly petrol smugglers on the sea in 2012.
“It was in honour of this group of nine gallant officers who died in the service of their fatherland that one of the seagoing vessels was named ‘Group of Nine’ while the other represents the ‘Customs Pride’ on the sea.
“One would expect that since the Service now has four marine commands, namely Western Marine, Eastern Maritime, North-Western Marine and North Eastern Marine commands, there is no better time than now to put the boats the effective.
“Presently Nigeria is going through economic turbulence, and cannot afford the culture of waste amplified by the past administration”
The group therefore called on the Acting CG of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, to deploy his dynamic attention to this issue and take immediate steps to get the boats functional as the Customs operations, more than ever, require these vessels to confront smugglers.
“We advise that the issues surrounding the abandonment of the vessels should be sorted out immediately or the Customs management should seek the help of experts to rescue them.
“Nigeria Customs management should purge itself of the indifference and above board attitude of its immediate predecessor that led us to this sorry state”
Continue Reading


Nigeria, Republic of Benin deepen cross-border trade facilitation

The Director General of Benin Republic Customs, Alain Hinkati, signing the agreement while CGC Adeniyi looks on
— as importers of both countries can clear goods, pay duties at either of the countries’ ports
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has signed an agreement with the Customs administration of the Republic of Benin where importers of both countries can use the ports of either of the countries to clear their goods and pay the relevant customs duties.
Consequently, a Nigerian importer can use Benenoise port to clear his goods destined for Nigeria and equally pay customs duties.
The same scenario applies to a Benenoise importer who can equally make use of Nigerian Ports.
This was part of the agreement reached by the two neighboring countries at the end of the two-day interactive session between the Customs Administrations of the two countries.
The session, which started on Monday, 11th September 2023, at the Abuja Intercontinental Hotel, is expected to deepen the relationship between Nigeria and Benin while promoting their age-old bilateral trade ties.
The Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi therefore expressed his commitment to synergize with the Benin Republic to enhance trans-border security and regulate trade between the two countries.
 “We are building confidence in the system offered by the Republic of Benin; our importers will use their ports and vice-versa.
“If there are people in the Benin Republic who want to use our ports, we try to build trust in our systems.
“And by virtue of this agreement, what it means is that Nigerian importers willing to use the ports in Cotonou can have their goods cleared in those ports because there would be an opportunity for them to pay duties on goods that are liable for payment of duties.”

Adeniyi made this known on Tuesday, 12th September 2023, when he officially received Senior Officers of Benin Customs, led by their Director-General, Alain Hinkati, at the Nigeria Customs Headquarters Abuja, in continuation of their two-day interactive session.

Other areas that the partnership will address include enhancing the proper use of International Transit Guidelines to govern transit-bound goods and fees from Cotonou Port to Nigeria and integration of Nigeria into the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit.

The Customs boss further highlighted that the treaty between the two Agencies “will prepare the way for an in-depth mechanism to harmonize the import prohibition lists of products banned by the two countries.

“In view of our commitment to curb smuggling and unlawful trade through our borders, we deemed it necessary to meet and form a strong agreement that will support our strategic plans to implement technological-base measures of clearing and tracking of items at our borders.”

The Ag. CGC, however, affirmed that the Nigeria Customs Service has concluded plans to promote good relations with border communities with a view to actualizing full participation of private sectors and frameworks of border Customs Units.

Speaking further, the Ag. CGC appreciated the Benin Customs and Embassy of the country for expressing interest in collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service to enhance trade facilitation.

“The Customs administration in both countries have a very good idea and technical know-how on what it means with trade; thus, we are back with a renewed enthusiasm to foster our relationship and make an impact on our trade facilitation roadmap.

“We hope that the program will address the issues of trade and set a roadmap for the implementation of new strategies that will enhance the economy and revenue in Nigeria and Benin Republic.”

The Director General of the Benin Republic Customs, Alain Hinkati, said, “It is our hope that the program will address the issues of trade and set a roadmap for implementation of new strategies that will enhance the economy and revenue in Nigeria and Benin Republic.”

According to him, the two organizations need to develop ideas to address transit issues and other progressive measures.

He said with the increasing global security challenges, the need for both customs administrations to work in synergy cannot be over-emphasized, adding that their intended mutualism will boost their relationship to improve the economy of both nations.

Meanwhile, the joined communique signed by the Ag. Comptroller-General of the  Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Director-General of the Bennese Customs, Alain Hinkati, highlighted that their meeting favours the desire of the two countries’ presidents: Bola Ahmad Tinubu and Patrice Talon to strengthen the shared commitment to enhancing trade facilitation and promoting economic development.

Other areas that will benefit the countries are fostering closer ties to Nigeria and Benin and reactivating the joint committee for monitoring trade and transit relations.

Continue Reading


%d bloggers like this: