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 .
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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