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Corruption, Marginalization in Nigeria Customs revealed

 

The Nigerian Customs Ser­vice is still a nest of cor­ruption, nepotism and other sharp practices de­spite the much acclaimed cleansing of the agency by the current leader­ship.

Vices such as promotion and sack of officers on ethnic basis, re­lease of seized vehicles and other goods to friends and families of top senior offices of the NCS are still rampant.

Serving and some recently dis­engaged officers who spoke on the management of the NCS, declared that Nigerians were yet to be told of the evils which are perpetrated against personnel from the South­ern part of the country.

Some of them claimed that it is only in the NCS that officers who should have been sacked are the ones that prepare the list of per­sonnel to be disengaged because they have godfathers in the organ­isation.

One of the recently sacked sen­ior officers with anger and frustra­tion written all over him, revealed that their sack was “ridiculous and driven by victimi­sation because we did nothing to warrant such treatment.”

He alleged that “those who rec­ommended our sack are those who ought to be relieved of their jobs if this is a country where the cry of the marginalised and victimised are investigated and culprits punished.”

The sacked officer who would not want his name mentioned be­cause of victimization said, “some of us who were affected have con­tacted our lawyers to see the pos­sibility of taking the matter to the Presidency and the National As­sembly and maybe the court if those channels failed to reverse our sudden removal.”

According to him, the NCS stinks and “this has been the case for the past two decades.”

He alleged that some of them who were affected by the recent sack actually did nothing serious. “Some of us are victims of false al­legations; some are seen as threats to their interest. Some are known to have a lot of information about their dubious deals at the top level and they think the best way to deal with us is to take us out but we are determined to pursue the matter to any level so as to get justice. Our lawyers are preparing our petition and the public will soon know why we were removed.”

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According to another con­cerned officer, “The NCS needs to­tal cleansing if the country hopes to have a Service that can meet the needs of the country in this mod­ern age.

“I can tell you that corruption walks with four legs in the Service and the people at the helm of af­fairs at the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency over the time, ei­ther pretended as if they are not aware or at most carried out tep­id reforms that didn’t achieve an­ything either because they bene­fited from the rot or are afraid of those who back the CGs at vari­ous times.”

The officer claimed that most of the past Comptrollers-General of the NCS used their positions to service their pockets, their friends, associates, and top people in gov­ernment and family members.

His words: “Most of the cars or goods seized from smugglers or abandoned at the ports are never properly accounted for. Some of the past CGs and very top officers had the habit and tendency to give such items to their friends, fami­ly members, politicians, and oth­er categories of people without due process.

“Even when such items are auctioned, they use fronts to cor­ner them and later sold them at open markets and the money giv­en to the officers.”

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Further according to the offic­er, “Those who have connections at the top level of the Service and in government never had their goods seized, no matter how they contra­vened the law. Even when goods of such people are seized, they would be released in a matter of days on the ‘order from above’.”

He said that Nigeria has been losing a lot of revenue through this method apart from the popular waiver which the public is aware of. “Most of the things I am say­ing are already known to the public but as an insider, I can confirm that these are the realities,” he added.

On postings and recruitments in the NCS, the officer said that they are corruption personified. “Before this government came in, most recruitments in the Service were done arbitrarily, depending on who approved the exercise and those implementing it. The issue of Federal Character and merit is not followed but top and influen­tial people in government and out­side government would send long lists of names and they are recruit­ed, leaving out those who actually merit the jobs.”

The most frustrating, accord­ing to him, is the posting and pro­motions in the NCS.

“Only people with high con­nections are posted to lucrative lo­cations where they render accounts regularly or are removed.

“The most affected are officers and men from the Southern part of the country who are marginal­ised because those who had been heading the Service are from the North. Promotions also are done by who you attached yourself to and who brought you into the Ser­vice in the first place”, he lamented.

He said that because of these anomalies, officers who have no ‘godfathers’ resort to doing what­ever they like at their duty posts. He asked: “What do you expect from this kind of system? This is why officers compromise at differ­ent locations because they are not happy with the system.”

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The officer said that the nation would have been making a lot of money through the NCS, apart from oil revenue “but the loop­holes are left uncovered by the ca­bal who will never allow the sys­tem work well because it makes them stupendously rich.”

Reacting to the matter, Act­ing Spokesman of the NCS, As­sistant-Comptroller, Joseph At­tah, described the allegation as no issue. He said the dismissal went through various disciplinary of­ficial procedures before actions were recommended and carried out.

He explained that some the of­ficers were acquited, some retired while some were dismissed.

“The allegation is baseless be­cause the dismissal was carried out after series of official disciplinary procedures. There is no question of a certain section of the country being victimised,” he noted.

Recently, the National Asso­ciation of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said that the NCS, through its con­ducts portrays itself as the most corrupt agency in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by the General Secretary of NAGAFF, Arthur Igwilo, it said:

“The Nigeria Customs Service arbitrarily gives itself revenue tar­gets officially and unofficially. The official revenue targets are de­clared publicly, but unofficial rev­enue targets are for their person­al purses. The latter, they flaunt in different ways that manifest, and portray the noble professional par­amilitary organisation as the most corrupt in Nigeria and beyond.”

The NCS recently dismissed 29 senior officers over alleged acts of gross misconduct. The dis­missed officers were among the 44 senior officers investigated for “acts capable of compromising na­tional economy and security.”

 

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  • Uwaoma, Chigozie
    January 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

    The only thing deducible here is that Buhari is installing his muslim brothers and southern thieves in the NCS.
    As long as Buhari remains the president of Nigeria, corruption, blackmail, criminality, ethnic/tribal segregation, religious sentiments that may soon lead to war as well as all other nefarious activities will continue to take place in Nigeria.
    Buhari is the problem!!!!

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