The Customs Service is a unique organisation that can be likened to the golden hen that over the years has continued to lay such improved golden eggs
An adage says, “Judging the cover of a book, has no relevance without opening and reading the content.” lt’s like what the advertiser’s say about an unadvertised product, which is, winking at a lady in the dark.
The Customs Service is a unique organisation that can be likened to the golden hen that over the years has continued to lay such improved golden eggs that have continued to put food on the national table of Nigeria.
The organisation has continue to evolved in all ramifications and the federal government seems to be very impressed with the new strong man at the helms of its affair. Hameed Ibrahim Ali is an officially retired but not tired Colonel of the Nigerian Army. When he assumed office as the Comptroller-General of Customs, the first military officer to be so appointed, tongues wagged and many Nigerians saw it as an aberration. Even the stakeholders almost took to the streets and even threatened to down tools at the ports. The National Assembly also added its weight by creating controversy around his personality. This Column also did not spare him. However from the look of events that are unfolding in the organisation, it become more pertinent to have another look at the administration and operations of the organisation. I assume that the initial stumbling blocks have helped to better propel him to achieve greater heights. It cannot be down played that the former CG Abdulahi Dikko planted like Paul in the Bible who said in 1 Corinthian chapter 3 “l have planted, Apollos watered.” The present great works of Hameed Ali are sequel to the good foundation of his predecessor. This is how organisations should be runned. Each leader doing great works that would impart on the personnels. It is like constructing a building, after the foundation, then the ground floor and so it continues. Today the Customs personnel are happy because their promotions are released and their arrears are promptly paid. Like Oliver Twist, they need more better welfare because they are working hard to increase their revenue collection base. A time was, when the Customs hit an all time revenue collection of one hundred billion Naira and the government went haywire and sent a congratulatory message to the organisation and its management team.
READ ALSO: NCS redeploys senior officers
Today, the story has changed. In 2018 the Customs under Hameed Ali raked in a revenue of N556 billion with 1927 seizures as against N486 Billion from January to June 2017. This feat is highly commendable. This must have come due to applied military discipline and strategic actions. The difference of N70 Billion must have come due to the blockage of identified revenue leakage by the tariff and trade department of the organisation. One major aspect of the operational activities of the organization is the focus on anti-smuggling which has resulted in high seizure of tonnes of arms and ammunitions, illicit drugs and vehicles. Leaders are known by the amount of knowledge they exhibit and the stuff they are made up of. There is no doubt that Hameed Ali has helped to turn around many aspects of operation in the Customs that not withstanding, more of such sucess s are still expected from his team. One fascinating quote on the Customs’ website reads “Dynamics of technology, have changed the conduct and scope of international trade. As a critical actor in the unfolding development, Customs can not afford to be indifferent. Information dissemination about Customs Operations is therefore considered very vital to trade facilitation in a world that is becoming increasingly technologically-driven”. I first started covering the activities of this unique organisation since 1982 when JF Brigwe was the comptroller general at the Tin Can lsland Port, while Atiku Abubakar who later became the Vice President of Nigeria was then the Comptroller in charge of the Apapa port while Mr lnnocent Okoye was the spokesman.
With a hindsight, one can eloquently say that it is the realisation of the conscious role as trade facilitators and principal enforcers of government’s fiscal policies that has made the current management team of Customs to achieve the feat it has so far recorded.
Why Boko Haram persist (1)
When Boko Haram sect started its activities, l was then the Managing Editor of the popular security tabloid newspaper, ( The Dawn Newspaper) which l founded, but later rose to become the Editor-ln- Chief.
We operated from the sixth floor of the Louis Edet building, Force Headquarters, Abuja. Mr Ogbonaya Onovo was then the lnspector General of Police while Mr. Chris Degar a police Commissioner vast in investigation and interrogation, was the Borno State Comisioner of Police and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was the 13th president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while Goodluck Jonathan was the Vice President. Many security reports filtered into Force headquarters that a Muslim vibrant cleric named Mohammed Yusuf was giving succor to homeless youths in Borno state and my newspaper showed interest in the story. As the main coordinator of the newspaper, l approached the lGP for permission to travel to Borno for an exclusive inv etigwtion. The Editor, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe was not too vast with police administration, so, l took up the challenge. ( To be continued)