Birth Of New Customs, Board elevates Abba-Kurra, Malanta,  Jibo, And 16 Others  

By Stephen Ubanna

 Barely one week after the Nigerian Customs service, NCS, Board under the Chairmanship of Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, confirmed the appointment of Acting Comptroller Generals, ACG, Greg Itotoh, Felix Okun, and Shuaibu Ibrahim at its last sitting in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Information filtered out that five Customs Comptrollers have been elevated also as Acting Assistant Comptroller Generals,.ACGs  

Ali, CG , Cu stoms And Newly Elevated ACGs and Other Senior Officers

The news making the rounds in Customs circles   was that Comptrollers  Yusuf Malanta, the revenue Czar of Apapa Area Command, Musa .MBA, a former Comptroller, Tin can Island Command,  Suleiman Bomai,  Federal Operations, FOU, Zone B, Kaduna and who was later deployed to Port Multiservices Terminal Limited, PTML made the list because of their outstanding performance i their respective Commnd and seniority on the job.

Another Comptroller that was said to have also made the list was Mohammed Bello Jibo, Seme Command, Area Controller, described as a workaholic in Customs circles. Until the rumour filtered out Comptroller Jibo had made life uncomfortable for VIP Petrol smugglers around the seme jurisdictions, forcing many of them out of the business as they continue to lose thousands of Jerrycans of 30 litres each of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol worth millions of naira.

Some of the VIP petrol smugglers were said to have been forced underground while others relocated to Ogun and Oyo states where Acting Cmptroller Kehinde Hussan Ejibuno and his men are giving them a run for their money. that they could not have their way to meet the demand of their Benin Republic Customers.

Compt. Jibo, Seme Command Area Controller, NowAn Ag. ACG

Between December , 2020 and September 2022, the Seme Commmand under the Leadership of Compt. Jibo , now , had made thousands of Jerrycans of Premium m Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, of 30 litres each, worth millions of naira. The latest of such major petrol seizures was an estimated 3,998 jerry cans of petrol, loaded with 33,200 litres each, equivalent of 119,940 litres, about four Tanker loads around the Bdagry axis, valued at about N29 million.

In achieving the feat, the former Seme Customs Area Controller were said to have set up an impregnable Operations Team headed by one Abbukar Darkingari, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs. 

  Even Vehicles and Ghana grown cannabis Sativa, popular, India Hemp smugglers, may not have it found it funny in Seme and Badagry axis,under Compt Jibo. , Those who were said to have tried to beat his Patrol teams, stationed at strategic locations all over the Seme Jurisdictions would never forget their experience in a hurry. They were said to have lost both their vehicles, wraps of Indian hemp, worth millions of naira to the Command.

 Many believe that the erstwhile Seme Customs Area Controller could achieve that much with the logistics support of Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS. The improved logistics was said to have made it easy for the Command various patrol teams to take the anti-smuggling war to the criminal elements hideouts in difficult terrains within Seme, Badagry and Owode axis.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had banned the importation of foreign rice and vehicles into the country on January 1, 2017, through the Land borders. This  may have strengthened the  resolve of the no-nonsense  Former Seme Area Controller and his men to make  the Seme jurisdictions a no go area  for  smugglers. He may have made a bold Statement at the Command by mounting a tight security that was difficult to break by the smugglers or the fraudulent importers and agents, that he was called Mr.Saint.

It was therefore ,not very surprising that when inormatio filter out that he made the Hamed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General of Customs new Acting ACGs list, his office became Mecca of a sortto the doubting thomases who wants to confirm from the horses mouth that it was true. He may have refused to speak on the issue because it was not official.

A source at the Customs Headquarters  told The Value News that the news making the rounds that Ali , has made appoints into the Management were not official, stating that the official list will be released soon. He is right.

On Thursday, January 19, 2023, Comptroller Timi Bomadi, , Customs National Public Relations officer ,at the instance of the Customs Comptroller General, released the list of 20 members Management team, comprising bot the new and chips of the old block. The saying that the earlier assignedre is no smoke without fire fire became a reality as most of the names that were said to have the the Customs boss list in the new Management Team , also made the new list with their portfolios.

Take for instance, Abba-kura,who who had worked directly with Ali, the Customs Comptroller General, in his capacity as  ACG, Customs Headquarters, and who was said to have been moved to the enviable rank of Acting Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, DCG,  and who was rumoured to  oversee the Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, E.I&I, Department and Acting ACG , Jibo  , rumoured to take over from him , retained the positions.  

 Elton Edoreh, a former, DCG,overseeing  E.I&I, who was in charge of E.I&I, but rumoured to have been moved  to Finance, Administration  and Technical services, FATS, retained his new portfolio.

 Recall that prior to the elevation of some  of the current  Area Controllers to the  rank of Acting ACG,  earlier in the month of January 2023,  the Customs Board  had  approved  the promotion of Deputy Comptrollers  Timi Bomodi, National Customs , Public Relation officer,  Musa Omale,  Mahmood Ibrahim, ,  Mohammed Yusuf, Coordinator , Headquarters Strike Force, Zone A   and 60 others to full Comptrollers. 

The 64 Comptrollers, were among the 1490, senior officers, whose promotion were confirmed by the Customs Board in the last meeting. The promoted seniors were decorated with their new ranks, on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Officers promoted to the ranks Inspectors of Customs, Assistant Superintendent of Customs I&II, Superintendent of Customs, I &II to Chief Superintendents of Customs, were said to have been decorated with their new ranks by their various Area Controllers.

  The officers moved to the ranks of Assistant Comptrollers and Deputy Comptrollers were said to have been decorated at the Zonal offices, while   the ACGs  and the new  Comptrollers, were decorated at the Customs Headquarters by the Customs Comptroller General a with the support of other the Management Team members.

Ali: Customs CG, Urges Newly Elevated DCGs ACGs And Other Senior Officers To Exhibi Exemplary ConductIn Their Dealings

In decorating the new ACGs and Comptrollers, the Customs Comptroller General was said to have charged them ‘’to work harder, exhibit exemplary conduct and generally live above board in all their dealings with the public’’.He was said to have made the newly promoted senior officers to understand that ‘’Promotion comes with a lot of responsibilities that would make them more visible’’, meaning that ‘’the expectations are high’’.

 Ali, who could not hide his feelings had told those that cares to listen that he plays no role in the officers’ promotion but ensures that the standards are met.  ‘’I play no role in the officers’ promotion but ensures that the standards are met’’, he had said.  He has made it clear to those who could not make the list this time around that if they conduct themselves well and pass their examination in the next exercise, they will be promoted.

 Appealing to the newly promoted senior officers, to work hard, stating that ‘’it is the only way to bring in more revenue into the government coffers and facilitate trade’’, urging them not ‘’to be a disgrace to the service’’.

 He had asked the officers to see it as a privilege working in Customs, noting   that ‘’out of the country’s over 200million people, 15,000 of them are fully engaged in service. He had advised them to endeavor to do the right thing and always follow our conscience.

In apparent response to the Customs boss speech, ACG.Itotoh, who was said to have spoken on behalf of the  promoted senior officers, may have gladdened his heart when he  assured him that they will provide ‘’quality service and robust output’’ to the service.  And not disappoint him.

W indeed, with the vacancies that had been created at the Apapa, PTML and Seme Commands, including ‘the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office, with elevation of the Customs Comptrollers overseeing the Commands, the Customs Management may take it as an opportunity to carry out a major shakeup in the service, in order to accommodate the newly promoted Comptrollers who are hungrier to contribute positively to the development of the service.

 It is also an opportunity for the Customs Management to remove some of the Area Controllers that have over-stayed their welcome in their present Commands. There are indications that the newly assigned Area controllers to the Commands where their former Comptrollers had been elevated to Acting ACG ranks, will resume next week.Efforts to speak to Acting ACGs Malanta, Bomai and Jibo, did not matrialise.  

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