Controversy has continued to trail the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) appointment of two new Acting Deputy Comptrollers-General of Customs and five Acting Assistant Comptrollers -General of Customs, all from the North, into management position of the Service by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hamid Alli (Rtd).
Recall that in a statement made available to newsmen recently, the Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Joseph Attah said the newly appointed Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs were DCG Abdullahi Babani to head HRD, and DCG Mohammed Boyi, NCS TRADOC.
“Other Assistant Comptroller-Generals (ACG) of Customs appointed into management positions are Saidu Galadima in charge of ICT/Modernization; ACG SM Modibbo for Zone ‘B’ HQ; ACG Uba Mohammed for E,I&I; ACG Hamza Gummi to head T&T, and ACG Usman Dakingari in charge of Doctrine and Development.
Five other DCG’s were redeployed. They are DCG David Chikan moved from TRADOC to FATS, Comptroller Mohammed Auwal moved from PHI to PHII, Comptroller Yusuf Garba moved from Kebbi to PHI, Comptroller Hafiz Kalla deployed to Kebbi from FATS (TS) and Comptroller Bello Jibo from Bauchi/Gombe to Seme Border Command.
However, findings have revealed that the latest appointment has not gone down well with some maritime stakeholders, who think it’s a deliberate ploy to “Northernise” the agency.
Condemning the latest appointment, Elder Asu Beks, a veteran journalist who has covered the Customs for decades wondered why all the appointees are from a particular section of the country.
According to Asu Beks, “All the latest appointees of the Customs are from the North. The NCS should be called the “Northern Customs Service” and not the Nigeria Customs Service.”
Responding on the criticism of the latest appointment, Customs Spokesman, Joseph Attah explained that it’s not true that the present Customs management team is dominated by a particular section of the country, stating that representation in NCS management team is evenly distributed across the country’s various regions.
In his words, “Now, those who do not know and will not ask questions are already shouting ” tribalism” seeing the names of those appointed to the ranks of Ag DCGs and Ag, ACGs.
“These exalted ranks at management level are evenly distributed to all the zones of the country.
“Vacancy can only be made available through retirement, resignation or any natural cause.
“Replacement can only come from the same zone that has the vacancy.
“So if those occupying such positions from a particular zone have not retired, there can not be fresh appointment coming from there.
“As a Customs officer, the prayer is to get to the rank of a Comptroller. After that rank, the next rank are dictated by forces beyond a Customs officer. If there are vacancies from the section that a Comptroller comes from, then he will be promoted to the next rank which is ACG. If there is no vacancy, then he remains a Comptroller till he retires.
“Another factor that determines promotion from the post of a Comptroller is if the Customs management is dissolved, and there is a need to constitute new management. People are drawn from the list of Comptrollers available to fill the new management team of Customs.”
When reminded that on the Customs website, only DCG Ronke Olubiyi, DCG Augustine Chidi and DCG Patience Iferi are from the Southern part of the country while the rest are from the North, the Customs Spokesman said not all management members name and pictures are uploaded on the agency website.
“We don’t upload all management members on the website, particularly ACG’s. A list of management members from the Southern part of the country, aside those three you mentioned are ACG AOB, Fatade, ACG K, Kaycee, ACG M. Aremu, ACG Wale Adeniyi, ACG JP. AJOKU, ACG O.A.R. Oyeleke, ACG E. Edorhe and ACG C. Odibu,” the Customs Spokesman added.