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Customs: How Dikko Died Of Psychological Trauma From FCC And ICPC

By Stephen Ubanna

When the late   Abdullahi Dikko Inde, 61, a former Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, was asked to tender his letter of resignation  from  office or  be sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, in  August 2015, many people  knew that there  was trouble ahead for  him.Indeed, he had resigned on August 17, 2015, in order  to silence those  making several allegations of Corruptions against  his six-year in office.

True to the people’s thinking, Ibrahim Magu, a Police Commissioner and the then Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ECC,  had detailed his men to go after him over  allegations of  Corruption committed while in office. The anti-graft agency had dragged  him  to a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital  Territory, FCT, in 2019. The Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, may have also  followed the footsteps  of the EFCC, to drag the late Customs Comptroller General and two other Deputy Comptroller Generals of Customs  to court on a N1.1 Corruption charges.

Dikko: Ex- Customs CG, Died Of Psychological truama

 The legal harassments may have created a psychological problem to him that he was forced to relocate to  Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE, on retirement from the service in 2015. He was said to stayed   in the Arab country for some three to five five and years. The intervention of some powerful Emirs from the north west states, particular, late Muhammadu Kabir Usman, the late Emir of Katsina,  Katsina, may have informed  why the government gave a soft landing  to  the late Dikko to return to the country  from Dubai.  While in Dubai,  the agency Operatives were said to have stormed his  house in Abuja  to search for incriminating documents over the  ongoing investigations of some petitions against him .  

In spite of the fact that  some  notable Emirs in the north west had piled up pressure on the Katsina state born Nigerian President  to allow the late Dikko return to the country, Magu, the then EFCC, Chairman , on his  part , was considering the use of extradition   to bring the late Customs Comptroller General back to the country.    He may have played into the waiting hands of Magu, the then anti-graft agency boss, when he returned to the country in 2019,  as the EFCC, officials intensified the Legal action against him with the intension of convicting  him with the available evidence at its disposal.

 Note that the EFCC, had recovered  17  exotic vehicles  from his house in Kaduna. He may have read the handwriting of the plan of the  agency on the wall that  he was said to have refunded N1.5 billion to the government  but the agency had claimed that  it was  money from Crime. He had expected that after making the refund and the vehicles that had been taken  from his  house in Kaduna,, he would regain his freedom.  He  got it wrong. The EFCC , had continued its legal action  against him.

 The situation was very worrisome that Nnamdi  Dimgba, a  Judge of the Abuja  Federal  High Court, had  in November 2019, ordered  the EFCC to stop the legal proceedings  against Dikko after  he was said to have reached a Non- Prosecution agreement with Mallam  Abubakar Malami, the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.  But that was how  far the order could go.  The case, however, took a new turn in February 2020, when  the Court issued  a warrant of arrest  against him, on the ground  that he was not showing up for trial.

 Solomon Akuma, his Lawyer, could not take it.He had presented a medical report to the trial Judge to show that his Client had been  sick and on  admission in London, United Kingdom, UK, which was the main reason why  he could not appear in Court to  defend the allegations  of Corruption charges against him while in office.

Many believe that the EFCC and ICPC, created a deep hole  in the former Customs Comptroller General’s heart which had continued to affect him until he died  on Thursday, February18, 2021, amidst tears , in customs and agents circles.  Industry stakeholders believe that Dikko is one former Customs Comptroller General,   whose tenure had a ‘’zero tolerance  for Corruption ,’’ as he  had insisted on assumption of office in 2009, that  the service  must constantly review itself ‘’ by weeding out Corrupt  men and officers whose activities tarnish the image  of the agency’’. The reverse is the case as he as the one being hunted by  the EFCC and ICPC,  over allegations of Corruption charges while in office.

 There is no gainsaying the fact that he may have known about his psychological torture he is going through since he left office  in the hands of the then Magu, led  EFCC, particular. This is evident going by his Statement in one of his recorded Television interviews about a question on what he would want to be membered for?

 In  apparent response to the question, he had said, ‘’I want to be remembered as an ordinary Nigerian who has an opportunity to serve his fatherland and I served my country diligently and I want  people who I have  trained  to remember me for somebody as a hardworking  Nigerian’’.  

Recall that following his appointment in 2009, as the Customs Comptroller General by late President Umaru Yar’adua, he had introduced a six point agenda that would help to transform the service and modernize its operations, give accurate  trade information and improve  its Logistics processes. He also had in  mind that it would broaden inter-agency relationship and security Coordination.

The six  point agenda which he had introduced also   included capacity building of officers and men, In- formation Commnication technology, ICT, -Maximisation   of its e-Customs, Moral rebirth of integrity, enhanced welfare  for officers and men , Collaboration with stakeholders  and Coordinated Public Relations activities to foster  mutual understanding. He had followed the implementation of the six-point agenda to the later.

U.K.Bello: Kanwan Katsina And District Head Of Ketare, Mourns Late Dikko, Former CG.Of Customs

This may have informed why Usman Kankara Bello,  a for retired Comptroller and now Kanwan Katsina,  who incidentally is the District Head of Ketare, in Kankara , Local government Area,  could describe the late Dikko as  the Customs Comptroller General  who had ‘’brought  lots of changes into the service’’. Bello, a retired Customs Comptroller , cited ‘’the Computerisation activities in the service’’, which  stakeholders believed  had enhanced  the service revenue generation for the government between 2009 and now.

The Kanwan Katsina, who was said to have led a delegation of village heads and other traditional title holders in Ketare district  on a Condolence visit to the family of the deceased, noted that  the late Dikko, during his tenure ,as the Customs  Comptroller General  between 2007 and 2015,  recorded ‘’tremendous achievement in training and retraining of officers and men of the service as well as  enhancing  their Welfare’’ . He may have known so much about the ate Dikko, having worked with him for about 30 years and also served  as an Area Comptroller, Kano/Jigawa, Command, under him.

The Ketare, district head , who could not hide his feelings  had said  that ‘’the death of the former Customs helmsman is a great  loss  to the people of Katsina state and the country in general’’.  Sagir Bature, the Sarkin Musawan, Katsina, and the brother of the late Dikko and other family members who were said  to  have received the Ketare district of Kankara Local government area delegation were said to have prayed  ‘’for the reposed of the soul of Abdullahi Dikko  and asked  Allah to grant  the family  the fortitude to bear the loss’’.  

Recall that the Nigerian President in his Condelence message had ‘’sympathised  with  the people of Katsina, his hom state , over Dikko’s death’’, despite being instrumental to his psychological problem  by sacking him from office ad allowing the EFCC and ICPC, to go after him over alleged Corruption charges.

Stephen Ubanna

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