The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has issued a 90-day ultimatum to the newly promoted Deputy Comptroller Generals (DCGs) and Assistant Comptroller Generals (ACGs) of Customs to suppress smuggling in the country as a justification for their promotions.
Ali gave the ultimatum in Abuja at the decoration ceremony of five DCGs and eight ACGs, who hitherto occupied the ranks in acting capacities.
According to him, rice smuggling had remained a major challenge of Customs, stressing that the menace must be reduced to negligible percentage.
He also warned the newly promoted officers to live above board in all their dealings as there was no room for any form of mistakes.
Ali said: “In the next three months, we must reduce smuggling to be barest minimum. That is our major headache. We are not doing badly in revenue generation and collection.
“Smuggling is where we should focus on. Rice is the most smuggled commodity and everyday, I keep getting reports that rice keeps coming in. We should stop the influx of foreign rice into the country so that our farmers can grow. They took loans to grow rice locally and theirs is even better. We should protect their investments.
“There is no room for laxity. We must all accept full responsibility for our actions. Failure is not an option here. We have had experiences in the past where members of management said they will not discharge their responsibilities as expected because they were waiting for me to go since I am an outsider.
“If you are waiting for me to go before you do the right thing, then you are the one to go. Many said I’ll soon go but I’m still here. They’ve gone. Let all hands be on deck to take Customs and the Nigerian economy to the next level.
“This is the first time I will take part in the selection process for the officers to be promoted. So, your failure is the failure of Hameed Ali because I selected this team. We should serve as a whole team. As Customs officers, we touch lives of Nigerians directly.
“From trade facilitation, security to revenue generation. It’s three in one. We must respect the law. The promotion comes with fresh challenges and responsibilities and so we must live up to standard. To whom much is given, much is expected”, he said.
The five confirmed DCGs include: Aminu Dangaladima, Augustine Chidi, Sule Roberts Alu, Patience Iferi and Ronke Olubiyi. For the ACGs, they are: Talatu Mairo Isa, Benjamin Abeh, Ladan Hamza, Kaycee Ekekezie, Aminu Dahiru, Francies Enwereuzor, Fatade, Olakunle Aderinle and Mahmud Haruna.