By Stephen Ubanna
For the first time since Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel led Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, started conducting promotion examination for officers and men of the service, over the last six years, this is the first time that senior officers Promotion examination results had been released in record good time. Recall that when the hundreds of the senior officers who were due for promotion from the ranks of Assistant Superintendents of Customs, Deputy Superintendent Customs to Comptrollers, in December , 2021, there was no sign that the result would be released before the end of the first quarter of 2022. This is because of the previous years’ experience where officers were almost losing their patience because of the delay in the release of their promotion results. Many had attributed the delay in approving the Customs Promotion results in the past years to getting the board members to sit and deliberate on the customs Management list of those penciled down for promotion based on their performance in the promotion exanimation and interviews.
. Note that the NCS Board is headed by the sitting minister of Finance. Under the current dispensation, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is the National Chairman while Ali, the retired Army Colonel and the Customs Comptroller General is the Vice Chairman.
When the Customs Board met on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, the same day that Nigerian and its West African neighbor, Ghana,played the second leg of the World Cup qualifying match to book a place in the Qatar, Middle East, at the Moshood Abiola, National Stadium, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, informed sources told The Value News that when information infiltered about the meeting and its agenda two weeks before it was eventually held, Officers were optimistic that the December 2021, promotion examination which has been awaiting approval and other pending issues relating to the service would be addressed. They were right.
Among those who had taking the promotion examination awaiting to wear their new rank were Deputy Comptrollers Cheldi Dalha Wada a Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the Katsina Customs Command and who has unrelenting in giving the smugglers in the President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, home state, tough time, Babatunde Olomo, who was the officer In-Charge of the Apapa Command Enforcement Unit, and who gave fraudulent importers with their agents at the port sleepless night not by blocking al the areas of revenue leakage at the port and enforcing the Command anti-smuggling operations, with spectacular Contraband seizures, including Tramadol, at APM, Terminal, and Aliyu Sadiq, who has made his mark as an Enforcement officer at the Federal Operations , Zone A, Ikeja , Lagos.
Other prominent names on the list of the 31 General Duty Deputy Comptrollers and Three Support Staff, promoted to Comptrollers of Customs were C.K.Niagwam, MM Illeyghado,, M.C. Ugbagu, A. Bako, O.O.Orbih and R.C.Nwankwo.
A Statement released by Timi Bomodi, a Deputy Comptroller and Customs, spokesperson, at the end of the Tuesday, March 29, Board meeting of the service, that was said to have been presided over by Hajia Ahmed , the minister of Finance shows that 3,466 General Duty, GD. and Support Staff, SS, Officers were approved for promotion to the next rank.
In giving the approval for the release of the names of the promoted senior officers, the minister was said to have highlighted ‘’the importance of discipline and engendering a work ethic based on transparency and an all-encompassing reward system’’.
In giving a breakdown of the list of the promoted senior officers to their various new ranks, Bomodi, the Customs National PRO, had said that 3 Deputy Comptrollers, on GD, promotion were approved and one SS , Deputy Comptroller, was elevated to the enviable rank of Customs Comptroller.
The Customs spokesperson had said that84 GD, Assistant Comptrollers of Customs, were promoted to Deputy Comptrollers rank while only one Assistant Comptroller was promoted to Deputy Comptroller from the SS category. DC. Bomodi, was said to have also stated in the Statement released relating the approved Customs promotion list by the Board, that 212, GD , Chief Superintendent of Customs , were moved to the rank of Assistant Comptrollers, while three other Chief Superintendents of Customs from the Support Staff category , were moved to the Assistant Comptroller’s rank.
Others were 196 Superintendents of Customs on GD, who were moved to Chief Superintendents of Customs, Superintendent of Customs to Chief Superintendent of Customs , Support Staff, 6, and 668 Deputy Superintendent of Customs to Superintendent of Customs on General Duty and 16 other Deputy Superintendents, who elevated to Superintendents rank from Support Staff officers level.
The approved list of the promoted senior Customs officers by the Customs Board also include 1,258, Assistant Superintendents to Deputy Superintendents of Customs on General Duty, Assistant Superintendent of Customs to Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Support Staff,39.
This is in addition to 759 Assistant Superintendent of Customs II, who were promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Customs I, General Duty and 48 Support Staff, from the rank of the Assistant Superintendent II to Assistant Superintendent of Customs I.
In the junior cadre category, 109, Inspectors of Customs ,based on their performance in the Ali organised 2021, promotion examination, were elevated to Assistant Superintendent of Customs II, General Duty, while 33 of the Customs Inspectors were promoted in the Support Staff category.
Many had expected Deputy Comptroller Bomodi, the Customs spokesperson ,to give out the number of officers , both at the senior and Customs Inspectors level who had sat for the promotion examination in 2021 and the number that had failed as the Usman Alkali Baba, led Nigerian Police Force, usually do to avoid sending wrong signals to the officers in future promotion examinations of Management interference in compiling the list of officers to be promoted and those to be dropped, irrespective of whether they pass the examination or not.
Given the huge revenue generated for the government, in 2021, an Appreciative Hajia Ahmed, the minister of Finance had commended the Ali-led Customs Management Team for ‘’breaking new grounds in trade facilitation’’. The Customs Authorities had confirmed that it generated 2.3 trillion, which was paid into the Federation Account in 2021.
It was not surprising why the government had set a revenue target of N2.2 trillion for the service this year, but the Customs Managemet had set N4.trillion target for itself and in turn set targets for the various Commands with Apapa Command, under the close watch of Comptroller, Malanta Yusuf, Tincan Island, Compt. Adekunle Oloyede, an ICT guru, and who is believed to be using his digital Knowledge to break new grounds to improve to revenue generation of the Command and block areas of revenue leakage, Port Multi-services Terminal Limiyed, PTML, which has Comptroller Felix Okun, as the Area Controller and PortHarcourt II, Command, Onne, where Comptroller Auwal Mohammed calls the shot, were said to have given double of their 2021, revenue targets.
It is not surprising why the minister has urged the newly promoted officers ‘’to double their efforts in achieving the goals of the service in the current year’’. Haji Ahmed led Customs Board may have gladdened the heart of the promoted officers when she said that the 3,466officers whose promotion have been approved has January 1st, 2021, as the effective date, to start receiving their entitlements , despite the fact that their promotion was approved on March 29, 2022. This is an indication that all the officers would be paid their accumulated Salaries and Allowances for the over three months that their promotion was delayed from being released.