The Federal Government has approved a massive shake-up in the topmost hierarchy of the Nigeria Customs Service NCS, which saw
the compulsory retirement of three Deputy Comptrollers General DCGs.
This was part of the outcome of a protracted meeting of the board of the service presided over by its chairman, the Minister of Finance, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Abuja headquarters of the service on Monday.
Authoritative sources close to the service hinted that the three affected DCGs, who have between one and two years to officially retire from the service include Alhaji Garba Markarfi, Yinusa Saka and M.D. Jatau, who before his compulsory retirement headed the Pre-Arrival Assessment PAAR, unit of the service.
It was also gathered that five new DCGs were appointed in place of the sacked ones, which comprise of Mr. Austin Nwosu, Gabriel Aliu, Ibrahim Merah, Adewuyi and Musa Tahir, who was before now Assistant Comptroller General ACGs, in charge of the headquarters.
The Government has also approved the elevation of seven Comptrollers to the rank of ACG and they include Mr. Austin Warikoru, Mallam Bello Liman, Dan Ugo, Mohammed Mr. A.A. Dosunmu, Mrs. Ifere and Mr. N. Okoli, who was once the area controller in charge of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, Lagos command of the service.
Meanwhile National Public Relations officer of the service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, who spoke in a telephone interview, said he was not aware of any such shake-up in the service.
He however confirmed that there was a meeting of the board of the service, which was inconclusive. Adeniyi, who is a Deputy Comptroller of the service said: “The board held a meeting and it was inconclusive.
I am still awaiting the outcome of the meeting and until that I won’t speculate with anyone” But it was further gathered that this massive shake-up might be against the backdrop of the recent takeover of the Destination Inspection DI, scheme by the service from the service providers.
This takeover of the scheme follows the expiration of the seven-year DI Build, Own, Operate and Transfer BOOT contract with four service providers comprising of Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited, SGS and Global Scansystems Limited.
Under the contract, which expired November 30, 2013 to pave way for the service’s takeover of the service scheme on December 1, the service providers provided the Computerized Risk Management System CRMS as well as scanning services for all imports into the country.
Investigation shows that the board of the service believes that the retirement of older officers and bringing in new ones on board will inject fresh blood that will drive the new system.
It was also gathered that the Presidency had repeatedly warned the Customs’ board headed by the Finance Minister that everything that needed to be done must be done to ensure that the DI system does not crash after the takeover by the service.
It was in line with this that the Presidency approved the extension of the contract twice in order to pave way for the service to properly understudy the service providers so as to takeover and effectively manage the system.
The government had while announcing the extension of the contract, warned that it would not tolerate any hitches in the documentation and processing of the nation’s international trade, especially considering that Nigeria is import dependent.
It is expected that these new hands in the top management of the service, most of who are career officers will drive the new system to forestall a possible crash as speculated in some quarters.