Apapa Command: Compt. Olomu , A Silent Achiever

By Stphen Ubanna

When Compt.Babatunde Olomu,   overseeing overtime Cargoes at the Customs Headquarters, was deployed to  the Apapa Customs Command,Lagos Commercial nerve centre  by Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR,  Customs Comptroller General,  nobody gave him opportunity to succeed.

  This is because  former Compt. Auwal Mohamed, now an Assistant Comptroller General and his successor, Compt. Babajide  Jaiyoba, rtd, had set a daily revenue target of N10 billion and N16 billion respectively, at different times, which many believe  will be an uphill task for any future Area Controller of the Command , including Olomu, to achieve.

  The fear became pronounced that Compt .Olomu , may not be able to match the  daily  revenue record that  had been set by the immediate past Area Controller of the premier Command, particular,   because of the drop in cargo shipment into the country  through the premier port from the over 70 % level to about 50%.

The Customs Comptroller   may have known that he could not afford to fail the Customs Comptroller General, who had found him worthy to be deployed to a sensitive and high level revenue generating Command like Apapa. He` may have had at the back of his mind that if he could turn the Edo/Delta, Command, between 2022 and 2023, into a revenue generating Command, even when ocean going vessels laden with cargos hardly call at the port, let alone he terminal operators carrying the officers along in the fiscalization and de-fiscalization process since many years before his redeployment to the Command, he will break the daily revenue record that had been set at the Apapa Command.

  Being able to break the major revenue   leakage at the Edo/ Delta Command and with the support of Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel, and the thenCustoms Comptroller General of Customs,by ensuring that the  stakeholders abide by the rules  and regulations  binding oil lifting  process across at the  terminals’’, he had move into action. This may have informed   why fiscalisation and defiscalization  is now fully  adhered  at the Edo /Delta Command and which had been sustained by his successor, thus raising the revenue of the Command.

Volume of stacked Containers Discharged at APM, Apapa port

It was not surprising whyhe has moved swiftly to raise the daily revenue generation of the Apapa Command. Aware this could only be achieved through team work, he  was said to have thrown  his weight on Deputy Comptrollers  Wale Adenuga, Revenue, Ibrahim Turaki, overseeing  AP.Moller Terminal, Nwanze, enforcement and Frank Onyeka, who were aid to have ensured that the right things are done.

An insider told the Value News online that the foursome of Adenuga, Traki , Nwanze and Oyeka,  who had taken advantage  of the no nonsense Apappa Area Controller backing   had put a close tab on their officers, importers with their clearing agents to ensure correct declaration and appropriate payment of duties.

With the promotion of regular engagements with the stakeholders,the Customs Comptroller who believes that challenges could only  be dismantled  with all  the zeal  it required to do so  may not have  failed in his duties. This is evident with the mouth watery daily revenue generatioof June 14, 2024, put the sum of about 18 billion , described as the highest that had been collected  and paid into the Federation account  over the last five years. Hear him: Within one month in offices after blocking all the areas of revenue leakage and sustained tempo of the operation met on ground, ‘ I’ I have been able jerk up the level  of Compliance that importers with their agents now make correct declarations and pay appropriate duties as valued by DC. Adenuga’s office, without being chasing around to pay.  

Consignments that had been improperly valued due to the pressure of work may not have escaped Dc. Oyeka, at the exit gate as they were said to have been issued Demand Notice, DN, which they had paid without complaint.

An elated  Compt. Olomu  had said that he    was further  encouraged’’ to  jerk up the daily revenue generation of the Command  with the Launching of the  Economic Cooperation  and advanced rolling scheme , which mandates, Nigeria, as a member country of the World Customs  Organisation, WCO, to ensure that simporter’s Containers’ loaded with goods  are transferred to his  premises on arrival at the port  , properly valued, examined and duties paid ‘’to avoid  the usual  delays at the port’’ .

 The  Apapa Customs Area Controller was said to have  told  those that cares to listen that   the June 14 2024,  N18 billion daily revenue generation   ‘’ is the beginning of many daily revenue  collection, trade  facilitation and anti-smuggling exploits  to be achieved by the Command in the remaining months of this fiscal year  and beyond in the discharge of  Service  statutory responsibilities’’.

Abubakar Usman, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Command spokesman, may have spoken the mind of the Customs Comptroller, when he disclosed that he had assured   port users and industry stakeholders that ‘’officers and men of the Command under his Leadership are ready to sustain and surpass the Command given revenue target that was said to have been put at N2.3 trillion this 2024.

Recall that the Apapa Customs Area Controller  had repeatedly said that ‘’the unprecedented revenue collection on Friday, June 14, 2024, is a way of the Command ‘’celebrating the  one year in office  of Adeniyi, ‘’the  Customs Comptroller General  whose inspiring and motivating Leadership   has contributed  greatly to the achievement’’. 

Appealing to  the port users  who are used to cutting corners to shortchange to the government  in the past’’ to always abide  by the  tenets and etiquette  of lawful operations  such as,  obeying the extant  import and export  guidelines,  prompt and accurate payment of  duty ‘’, he noted that ‘’it is the only  way for the genuine importers with their agents  would go about their business at the port without fear of their Consignment being   intercepted and seized for Contravention of the Federal Government Fiscal policies.

Apappa Command seized used clothing in a 1×0 ft Container

Only recently, on the recommendation of Dc. Nwanze led enforcement unit and based on available incontrovertible evidence, the Command had intercepted and seized two Containers   load of used clothing, crusader soap and other Contraband items shipped through the port worth millions of naira.This may have informed why maritime analysts had described Compt. Olomu as’’ a silent  achiever’’ who allows his work to speak for him.

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