Tinubu’s Appointment Of Adeniyi, CG Customs  A Morale Booster To Officers To Aspire To Reach The Top’’ –   Shettima

By Stephen Ubanna

 Not many were surprised that  Deputy Comptroller General, DCG,Wale Adeniyi,  a member of the old Management Team led by Hameed Ali , a retired Army Colonel, between September  and June , 2023, with iron hand could be appointed as the  Acting Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Maritime analyst s see Adeniyi’s appointment as the Customs CG as one of the best appointments that has been made by the Lagos state born Nigerian President in the recent time. The argument in both official and unofficial circles was that anything short of picking the then DCG Adeniyi, as the new Customs helmsman out of the six DCGs and 15 ACGs, that make up the Ali led Management would draw the hand of the clock back for the service.

Adeniyi Being Decorated With CG Rank VP Shettima

They believe that Adeniyi has been well prepared for the job and the tasks ahead as the Customs National Public Relations Officer, which was said to have made it possible for him to work closely with former   Comptroller Generals who were said to have carried him along in all their International trips meetings and World Customs Organisation, WCO, meetings in Brussels, Capital of Belgium, as well as confided in him official matters that he knows so much about the Customs secrets.

 Notable among the past Comptroller Generals who were said to have worked closely with the incumbent Acting Customs CG, as National PRO, include Buba Gyang, the Gwon Gwon Jos, a first class Chief in Plateau state, Late Abdullahi Dikko and Ali, the immediate past Comptroller General.

 Until his appointment as the CG of Customs on Monday, June 19, 2023, by the Nigerian President he was said to have accompanied Ali, the former Customs helmsman as part of the Nigerian delegations attending the policy Commission and Council meetings of the WCO, at Brussels.

He may not have worked closely  with Aliyu Mustapha, a- one time Comptroller General but he may have the  opportunity of watching  his style of Administration  from the side  working under Usman Kankara Bello, Kawan Katsina, who was said to have retired as a Customs Comptroller and who had  had a great influence  on him  as the then Public Relations Officer of Tincan Island who was said Command.

 His close working  relationships  with the three  former Customs Comptroller  Generals, both dead and alife, may have informed why  the acting Customs CG, may have taken  the advantage  of being at the WCO meetings in Brussels and  without waiting to be decorated by Vice President Kashim Shettima,  with his new rank,  to engage  in strategic discussions with Ian Saunders, the North  American country of the United States , US, born,  newly elected  Secretary General of the WCO.

VP Shettima Puts The Ceremonial CG Cap On Adeniyi’s Head

This is because of the  important role of the office  in setting  the direction for Customs practices worldwide,   Japan  Customs Administration  Representatives at the WCO meetings  and Japan International  Cooperation Agency, JICA, to seek their support  for ‘’the establishment  of a Customs Laboratory in Nigeria’’. The Asian country of Japan Customs Administration Leadership, particular, may have assured Adeniyi of their support 

He was said to have also  used the  opportunity of being a the WCO meeting toinitiate talks with other International Organisations, on the need for Collaboration  in the pursuits  of cutting –edge technologies    that would  aid the NCS, operations with a view to enhancing efficiency in the service. He was said to have also extended the strategic engagements  to other relevant experts  and donor agencies  focusing  on such areas  such as ‘’ conducting a Time Release Study, TRS, implementing  the  Authorised  Economic Operator, AEO, program, Leadership  and Management development’’.  

Informed sources told The Value News that his discussions with the International  Customs Community  may have prepared  his mind   for the exploration   of all-driven  solutions  to the service perceived challenges , including  General Artificial  Intelligence, GAI, solutions  like ChatGPT and advanced  geo-sepatial intelligence approaches like GEINT.

Many believe that these technologies when fully implemented by the Adeniyi’s Administration will go a long way in enhancing communication, decision-making processes and the service enforcement operations in the future.

There are indications that the new Customs boss have already concluded arrangement to start the implementation of GEOINT technology that would enhance the efficiency and enforcements across the country and contribute to the overall service efficiency as well.

 Indeed, the discussions  he may have had with  the WCO Secretary General , JICA and the Japan Customs Administration, Leadership,   over the establishment  of a Customs Laboratory in Nigerian,  may have  informed why he has seen it as a ‘’milestone  in enhancing Customs operations  and trade facilitation under his Leadership.

Given an insider information of the Customs Laboratory if fully stablished in Nigeria, with the support of the WCO, JICA and Japan Customs Administrations, he had said that   ‘’it will  provide  the much needed comprehensive  solutions to address  NCS challenges  ranging from  counterfeit goods , smuggling to non-compliant importers,  that would help in  boosting  the service  monthly revenue generations and ensuring  protection of people’s health and safety.

Adeniyi, noted  that  with the advanced  analytical capabilities of the Customs Laboratory, if fully established in Nigeria  with the support of the WCO, JICA and Japan  Customs Administration, it   will deliver  ‘’precise identification, verification and classification of goods as well as  enabling  efficient enforcement  measures  and informed  decision-making  in the service .

The Customs acting Comptroller General  who could not hide his feelings had said that it will also  foster  ‘’an environment of trust and credibility  within Nigeria’s ecosystem   that would mark a  transformative  step towards   achieving the country’s  seamless Customs operations , trade Competitiveness, and national  economic growth in line  with the vision of the Tinubu’s Administration.

There is no gain saying the fact that  the acting Customs Comptroller General discussions with the various Customs Administrations, experts donor agencies  and the WCO Secretary General ,  clearly underscores Adeniyi’s commitment  to comprehensive improvements  of the service operations  and inclination to adopt  ‘’innovative solutions  across various  Customs domains’’,  that  would ultimately enhance  the Nigeria Customs operations.

 Freight Forwarders who had a rough time dealing  with  the immediate past Customs   Comptroller  General because of his style of Administration and lack of  understanding of the workings of the nation’s maritime industry   are optimistic that the  NCS under  the  Leadership  of Adeniyi, marks  on an exciting  journey  towards enhanced Customs efficiency and improved revenue generations in the years ahead.  

They  had alluded to the fact  that  through  international collaborations  with other world  Customs Administrations , engagement with the CO,  Exploration  of all-driven solutions and strategic discussions  with experts and Adeniyi’s Administration’s, pioneering  innovative projects  that will shape  the future  of the service practices, Nigeria  would be on the path of having a brand new Customs Administration that would compete at the international scene with other Customs Administrations.

Recall that in decorating Adeniyi, with his new rank of Comptroller General, though in acting capacity, Vice President  Shettima had described his appointment  by  the President as a ‘’morale booster  in the service’’.   The former Borno state governor who has thanked the President for ‘’ bringing Professionalism back to the Service’’, was said to have made it clear to the officers that now ‘’ they can aspire to occupy the pinnacle of their profession’’.

Given the confidence reposed on him by the Nigerian President , to appoint him, a serving officer, as the Customs Comptroller General to take over from Ali, a retired Army Colonel,  Adeniyi was said to  have assured him and Nigerians in general of a ‘’more  effective  and innovation –driven  Customs service  and which is approachable to work with.

He had admitted that  under the Ali  led eight years Leadership,  the service  has gone through  a period of transitions, recorded progress and made a lot of breakthroughs in ‘’capacity  building.  He opined that  the service can still  live to its full potentials when  the new Administration  bring in ‘’more innovations  to drive its operations’’ , stressing that  these  are the kind of things  the new  Management will be looking  at in the years ahead.

He was said to have  given his words : We are going to be professional  in our approach, adding that there  are  a number of key  stakeholders the service are going to be working with , including  the importers with their agents .  He had described it as a ‘’very onerous task’’ but insists that they are going to be working alongside the stakeholders and other partners that had already been identified.

He may have gladdened the heart of the maritime stakeholders when he said that the new management intend ‘’to come up with innovations that would carry along all partners and stakeholders’’.  The new Customs n boss who was said to have had the support of Ali, the former Comptroller General, before bowing out has declared :  We are going to leverage on technology and innovation  to break new grounds  in the Customs operations in the years ahead.  Vintage Adeniyi.               

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