Customs:The Politics Of Selecting A Successor For Retired DC. Yahaya, Of FOU, Zone A

By Stephen Ubanna

Between Tuesday, September, 7, September 10, 2021, Usman Yahaya, a Deputy Comptroller, Overseeing Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, described as one of the best anti-smuggling officers, the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has begun his final exit from the service. At the Command Management meeting, on Tuesday, Tuesday , September, 7, 2021, an elated Yahaya , had thanked the officers , for their support, during his tenure, noting that without them , he could not have achieved that much that had been recognized by the Management, leading to his elevation to enviable rank of Comptroller , along side Mahmood Ibrahim, a Deputy Comptroller, in-charge of the exit gate, PortHarcourt, Area II, Onne by Executive fiat last May. He was said to have made several efforts to be decorated with the new rank but that was how far he could go.

 Informed sources, told The Value News that he had inspected a passing out Parade mounted by the officers. The senior officers,  were said to have lined up to have the last handshake with him. It was gathered after the Tuesday Parade , he has removed his Customs, uniform, awaiting for his Successor, whose name remained unknown to resume  on Friday,  September 10,2021, in order to officially handover to him.

As at Wednesday, the Customs Authorities, had kept everybody in the dark on who takes over from FOU, Zone A, Customs  boss, who feel fulled as an Enforcement having been given the opportunity to exercise his powers , first as the Deputy Comptroller, Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Team A and in January 2020, redeployed to the FOU , Zone A, Command.  

Several names were said to have been thrown up to take over from him. One of them was Ahmadu Shuaibu, a  DC,CGC, Strike Force , team A and Mahmood Ibrahim, another DC, overseeing the exit gate of PortHarcourt, Area I, Command, Onne, Rivers state. DC. Shuaibu, may not have been enthusiastic about  being redeployed to FOU, Zone, because , because he believes the adhoc team and the FOU Zone A, Command  are both Interventionist Units, doing the same work, anti-smuggling operations in the south west geopolitical regions. The two interventionist were also said to be involved in watching over the activities of the Fraudulent importers with their agents at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin can Island Port and port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, including the Bonded Terminals that are scattered all over Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre.

Yahaya: A Fulfilled Retired Acting Comptroller Of FOU, Zone A

The Customs Management may have settled for DC. Ibrahim to replace, the retiring  Yahaya, the former FOU, Zone A, Customs boss. But the recent interview granted to Maritime Journalists by Ade Fadahunsi, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs and now a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and who incidentally is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, may have informed why Yahaya, who was  said to have  been working underground to get CDC. Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, who incidentally has  Headed the Abuja CGC, Strike Force, from Delta  state , to take over from.  His argument, according to informed was that it would not make any sense to hand the Command to another northern officer. The Hawks in the service may have bought the idea, and imposed it on Ali, the Comptroller General, who quickly cued into it. The fallout was that Deputy Comptroller was that Deputy Comptroller Ibrahim, whose name was already ringing bell as the successor of Deputy Comptroller at the FOU, Zone A, was dropped for Deputy Comptroller Hussein Kehinde Ejibuno, to step in at the last minute.

Not e that Ejibuno , has never been in the picture of the officers that may likely succeed deputy Comptroller at FOU, Zone A. Although, DC. Ejibunu, is an experienced Enforcement officer who had at different times served at the FOUs zone A and zone C, but his imprint may have been notice at the Benin city, the FOU, Zone C, outstation.  

On Friday, September 10, 2021 Ejibunu, showed up at the Command premises. Deputy Comptroller, Yahaya, who was confirmed to have influenced his appointment as his replacement had worked down from his office to receive him.  The duo were said to have walked to his office , accompanied  by some officers, including Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller and the Command Head of Operations and Lagos Roving. The former FOU, Zone A, Comptroller, was said to have used the opportunity to call on the officers to extend the same level of Cooperation given to him while still in the Command in order to succeed.

Many believe that with the standard set at the Command, Ejibunu, may have to work hard to beat the records and even surpass it.  But he may not have any reason to fail because one of the key Heads of the Command’s anti-smuggling units who  had worked closely with him at FOU, Zone C, Benin city outstation, where they  made spectacular seizures, is very much on ground and ready to work for him. .    

In a related development , importers with their agents , who were happy that DC Ibrahim ,  who has given much nightmare  at the Onne port exit gate by blocking them from carrying out their illegal activities have been redeployed to FOU , Zone A, became sad when information leaked out that it has been cancelled.

Many believe that Mohammed, the Command Area Comptroller , can now have a sigh of relief that that Deputy Comptroller Ibrahim is very much on ground to continue his policing of the fraudulent agents This may have forced the Leadership  of the Association of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, were  said to have gone back to the drawing borad to estrategise on how to deal him. The agents knew that as long as long remains at the Onne, it would be very difficult for them to do dirty jobs.    

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