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Shakeup in Nigeria Customs Service

THE Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday redeployed 246 senior officers in a major shakeup designed to strengthen its operations. The exercise, which was approved by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), affected eight Assistant Comptrollers-General and 238 Deputy Comptrollers of Customs.

Highlights of the redeployment show that ACG Charles Edike moves from Zone A headquarters in Lagos to Human Resource Department (HRD); ACG Ahmed Mohammed moves from HRD to Zone B. Similarly, ACG Aminu Dangaladima moves from Zone B to Enforcement, while ACG Francis Dosumu moves from Enforcement to Zone D, among others. A statement signed by the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Joseph Attah, indicated that the redeployment, which took effect immediately, is intended to strengthen operations and reposition the service to meet the challenges of the new year. The affected officers were directed by the NCS boss to report at their new postings immediately and charged to ensure maximum collection of revenues as well as strict implementation of government’s fiscal policy. He also reiterated the enforcement of the ban on the importation of rice and vehicles through land borders. We commend the leadership of the NCS for effecting this shakeup which is believed to be long overdue. Some of the affected officers have stayed at their last postings for too long. This redeployment will, therefore, address their stagnation and its deleterious effect on their performance. Overstaying of Customs officers on one duty post can breed corruption and complacency, which are inimical to the goals of the NCS. No officer should be allowed to stay on one post for too long. And, all postings should be done in the best interest of the NCS and the nation’s economy. All officers and men of the agency should be treated equally and fairly. It is good that senior officers are affected in the shakeup. The redeployment should trickle down to other cadres who have overstayed in one post. The NCS is an important government department in any country in view of its role in revenue collection. The redeployed officers should see their new postings as a call to duty. They should not rest on their oars but work hard to justify the exercise. The officers, apart from revenue collection, should check the movement of illegal firearms into the country. They should step up their surveillance activities to stop banned goods from entering our shores. The NCS should train and retrain its officers and men for more effectiveness in their jobs. They should, however, stop harassing travelers carrying bags of rice for domestic consumption from Lagos to the Eastern part of the country as witnessed along Sagamu-Benin Expressway during the Yuletide season. They should also stop harassing traders inside markets over contraband goods. Instead, they should be extra vigilant at the borders so that such goods are prevented from entering the country. Harassing innocent travelers over alleged contraband rice meant for family consumption for the Christmas and New Year festivities was not tidy at all. The ban on the importation of vehicles through land borders which became effective this January has also created a lot of work for Customs officials at our land borders. Many vehicles that were said to have been imported before the announcement of the ban early December 2016 are said to be held up at the borders as their importers could not get them into the country before the January 2017 deadline. The NCS authorities have a lot of work to do to resolve this situation. However, the redeployment of Customs personnel is one thing; subjecting them to Spartan self-discipline is another. The latter must be done to strengthen the operations of the service in the new year. There is also the need to check corruption in the service. All avenues of corrupt enrichment should be plugged. The fight against corruption by the present government should be extended to Customs personnel. We say this because after crude oil, the NCS remains the highest revenue earner for the country. We hope that this redeployment will lead to more revenue from the Customs. The shakeup should not be just to move staff around, it must reflect in greater efficiency, effectiveness and increased revenue generation by the NCS.

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