By Stephen Ubanna
Not many people were surprised that Wale Adeniyi, a seasoned Public Relations Officer and former Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Customs Staff and College, Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Federal Capital, Territory, FCT, was appointed be the Area Comptroller of Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, MMIA, which was carved out of an existing Murtala Muhammed Airport Command, MMA by the Customs Board..
It had long been speculated after he was elevated to the enviable rank of Comptroller and deployment to the training College that his next move would be to Head a Command in order to generate revenue for the government. Many had expected Hammed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General to take him to one of the existing Commands having being at the corridor of power for years in his Capacity as the Customs National Public Relations Officer, NPRO, which had exposed him to the workings of the Service both as an Administrator and general duty officer.
Given that Ali, the Customs Comptroller General was not in a hurry to replace the Area Comptrollers for now alleged to have performed below average in the last one year, particular those in Commands in the north west geo-political region, he may have waited for an opportunity to move him from the Classroom to a Command where his service would be effective utilised to further boost the revenue generation of the Service.
Note that Ali, the retired Army Colonel and Customs boss, has a Presidential mandate to reform, rrestructure and improve the revenue generation of the Service. Jayne Shoboiki, Comptroller, MMA, may have given an insight to Adeniyi’s journey to becoming the Comptroller of the newly carved out MMIA from her old Command. She disclosed that at the 50th Board meeting of the Service held on May 21, 2019, where the decision for the unbundling decision of the establishment was approved which facilitated the establishment of eight additional Commands. A senior Customs officer who spoke to the Value News disclosed that with the approval for the return of the Customs to its former administrative arrangement before the reform that merged some of the Commands to become one, vacancies were created to to deploy Comptrollers to Head the Commands.
The Commands are MMIA, carved out from MMA, Idiroko which was created out of Ogun Command, One Oil and Gas Terminal, split from the old Onne Lighter Terminal and Kebbi, which was carved out from the Western Marine Command, the Customs Aphibious Unit. Four other Commands were also split including the Eastern Marine Command.
It was not not surprising that why Ali and his management team met to compile the list of the Comptrollers to be deployed to Head the New Commands, Adeniyi made the list. Shoboiki , the MMA, Comptroller may have spoken the mind of the Customs Comptroller General when she said that the additional Commands were created for ‘’administrative Convenience and boost revenue generation of the Service.
Adeniyi may have known that it is no longer time to lecture the senior officers shortlisted for one programme or the other in the school but to devise strategies to enhance the revenue generation of the Command.
Until his deployment to Federal Unit, FOU, Zone C, owerri, IMO state, Shuaibu Ahmad, an Assistant Comptroller, who was at one time in-charge of the MMAIA, was said to have done everything within his powers to sanitise the International wing of the old Command that it could generate substantial revenue competing with the SAHCOL AND nacho, the Cargo terminals of the Command in revenue generation. This because Shuaibu was able to mobilise his officers to successfully block areas of revenue leakage at the Airport.
Given the strategies put in place at the Airport to monitor the travellers who carry heavy luggage but would not want to pay duty, they were forced to fall in line. Insiders told The Value News that most of them willingly on their own position their luggage to be examined and the pay the duty slammed on them without argument.
It was learnt that a former Senate President who dry cleans his clothing in the sprawling City of Dubai, who was not used to paying duty for his Ghana –must go bags of cloth was forced to pay duty on such items. This is where Aniyi, the MMIA, Comptroller ,may have to look in-wards to ensure that the Command collects the appropriate revenue from the travellers instead of allowing the officers met on ground to do work without proper supervision as most of them have made friends among the big time travellers that they could easily circumvent the extant laws of Customs to avoid running into trouble with Mohammed Aliyu, Comptroller, FOU, Zone A , Operations and Lagos Roving Team officers along the Airport road.
Shoboiki, the MMA Comptroller, would not forget his experience in a hurry in the hands of the Command Operations and Lagos ROVING Team under the close watch of Riks Lura, a Chief Superintendent of Customs who had had intercepted a multi-million naira Hides and Skin, positioned for export before the information leaked.
. The MMIA Customs Customs boss may have known that it is not going to be an easy task, but he was said told the officers ‘’ we are going to do a lot of work and I am sure we are all ready to work’’. Adeniyi who could not hide his feelings had enjoined the officers that it is noe time to work as we have have to put our job first before any other consideration.
This may have informed why Shoboiki, who was accompanied Aliyu, Comptroller, FOU, Zone A, to usher Adeniyi to his Command, to beg the agents and travellers including other stakeholders using the International Airport to extend the same level of Cooperation maintained with her in order to succeed in his new assignment. ‘I beg you to give him the same Cooperation you have given me to enable him succeed’’, she had remarked.
Appealing to the Airport users , particular the travellers and the agents , to improve their level of Compliance to government fiscal policies, noting that this is the only way the Customs could achieve its aim of revenue generation and trade facilitation.
Putting on the garb of a Clergy ‘’, she prayed that the same God that saw her through in the discharge of her duties at the old MMA, ‘will ‘’surely help him to excel’’ Barely one week of taking over at the MMAIA, and setting up the necessary Administrative structures to run the Command, he has sent a signal to the stakeholders that stakeholders that it is no longer going to be business as usual. He was said to have told those who cares to listen that those who engage in genuine business at the Airport have no reason worry about Customs harassment but those who indulge in Criminal activities.
Note that Atiku Abubakar, a retired Deputy Director of Customs and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and Musa Daura, now district Head of Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari home town, who incidentally was Comptroller of FOU, Zone A, were at one time or the other Comptroller of the Command before the subsequent merger with MMA, in one of the Customs reforms embarked upon by the government..
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