Promotion : A Tale Of Two Agencies-Customs and Police

By Stephen Ubanna

 The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  and the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, are two different  para-military agencies, being overseen  by   two different people, whose personnel  depended   on the tax payers for the  payment of their monthly  Allowances and Salaries .   

Indeed, the major differences  between the two government agencies   are their  Constitutional mandate. The Customs, according to its Constitutional mandate  is a revenue generating and anti-smuggling agency while the police is saddled with the internal security of the country.

 Past and Present governments were said to have  given the Comptroller General of Customs and the Inspector General of Police, IGP, the free hand to run their agencies  to ensure efficiency by raising the morale of the officers to do their work.

 Note that there is no law that forbids  either the Customs Comptroller General or the IGP from seeking   the promotion of  his officers or recruitment of new personnel  to beef up their Staff strength.Many had expected that Hameed Ali , a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Of Customs, regarded as a close ally of President  Muhammadu  Buhari, in their years in the military  would take advantage of it  to ensure that his officers  who had been  stagnated in their promotion over the years would  get a new lease of life.

 Investigations by The Value News shows that many of the officers   have been one rank for over eight years while their counterparts in the othe military and other para-military Organisations , are wearing new ranks every three years. The only time , Ali , the Customs helmsman was said to have put smiles on the face of officers was  about  four years ago when he released the promotion examination results  conducted by Abdullahi Dikko, a former Comptroller General of the service. was said to have won the heart of the officers who  saw him as an action and a Chief Executive Officer, CEO, who knows what he is doing .  But that was how far he could go.

 He had presided over the conduct of another  promotion  examination for both the junior and senior officers who were due for it   last two years.  Security watchers had expected him to take advantage of the inauration of the Customs Board , which is Headed by the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning  to facilitate the release of the promotion interview in results .  He may be forgiven that he could not make a headway  in the past in the Service because of his frosty relationship with former ministers of Finance.

 At  present  he has a good working relationship with, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, who is the  inister of  Finance , Budget and National planning I, and incidentally the Chairman of the Customs  Board. Recall, that he had  succeeded in getting the Board in approving the promotion result of the junior officers which had beebn released and the officers decorated with their new ranks  but of the senior officers are still hanging.

 The question on the lips of most people is : why is the  result  of the senior officers who took the promotion examination and interviews   still hanging? There are indications that it is either Ali, the Customs Comptroller General has not talked it over with the minister t overseeing the Customs  to call for a  meeting of the Board to approve the senior officers  promotion  or he is not interested in seeing the officers wearing their new ranks because of the financial implication to the government.

A school of thought has it that he may have been cajoled  by  officials  of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, RMFC,  to footdrag  in pushing for the release of the Promotion of the officers, who are running out of patience,  until the 2020 budget  is passed by the National Assembly as  the financial implication  from the promoted officers was not captured  in the 2019 budget. More worrisome  was the  Ali led Customs Management ‘s  plan to recruit  2,200 General Duty Officers and 800  Customs Assistants  or Superintendents which had not seen the light of the day.   

The situation, according to Security watchers , are  different from what obtains in the Nigerian Police Force, where the officers were said to  have  been given getting their regular positions from  the Police Service Commission, PSC,  which is saddled  with the responsibility of conducting the promotion examinations, interviews and recruitment of new personnel into the Force .

Mohammed Adamu: IGP And A Man Of Action

 Insiders told The Magazine that virtually all the  requests  that had been presented by  the  present IGP had been approved in the last one year by the PPSC.  Take for instance the recent promotion of six Deputy Inspector Generals, 14 Commissioners of Police to AIGs, 230 Superintendents of police to Chief Superintendents of police, 11 DSPS to  Superintendents  and 211 ASPs to DSPs.

 That much was confirmed by  fRank  Mbah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, the Force Spoke Spokesperson who was , a beneficiary of the last Promotion exercise in the Force. 41 Inspectors were said to have also been promoted by the Musiliu Smith,  the  former IGP, led ,PSC to ASP1 in the recent promotion exercise.

The promotions,  into  the  Nigerian  Police Force NPF, Smith had said  were based  on ‘’merit, seniority and availability of vacancies’’.  Only recently  the Commission  had met to take  a decision   on the recruitment of 10,000 officers  into the Constable Cadre of the Force.

 It is instructive to note that Adamu, the IGP, who  may have been  in hurry to recruit the officers to fill the vacuum created  in the Force  because of the rising challenge may have thought he could handle the exercise without  the mandate of the PSC. He got it wrong.  The Candidates were said to have  been  shortlisted for  training   and allegedly released  on the orders of the IGP by may have been  stopped as the Commission dissociated itself from the purported list describing it as an ‘’act of illegality  and a  serious breach of the Federal Character’’.

In apparent reaction to the Police Authorities  action,  the  Commission had dragged  the IGP and the Force to Court for ‘’hijacking    its Constitutional  powers  to recruit. It was said to have  made it clear to those that cares to listen that  that the recruitment exercise is on course  and has not been abandoned despite the Clash of interest between the  PSC and The Force Authorities.

  Security watchers believe that Adamu, the IGP, knows what he wants,  and he  would not hesitate to ensure that the areas of misunderstanding with the Commission are  resolved  out of Court  to get the Constables recruited without further  delay because of their strategic role in the Force.

 This is a virtue which is lacking in Ali, the Customs boss, who believes  he knows it all  as he does not take  advice  from those who are in a position to  do so. It is not surprising why many things had gone wrong in the service in the last four years.

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