Five Deputy Comptrollers of the Nigerian Customs today resigned their commission in show that depicts that all is not well with the Nigerian Customs. Their joint letter titled “voluntary retirement” dated October 29, 2015 was addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs.
Those affected are Atta A.J, Musa T.A, Mera I.M, Nwosu A.C, AND Adewuyi A.A. The joint letter reads: “We, the underlisted officers currently on the rank of Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs met today, 29, October, 2015, and unanimously decided to voluntarily retire from the service of the Nigeria Custom Service, having risen to the privilege rank of Deputy Comptroller-General. We wish to thank the President for giving us the opportunity to serve our great nation, Nigeria”.
In recent times, the Nigerian customs have been faced with controversy of all sorts. First was the appointment of retired army colonel, Hamid Ali as the new Comptroller-General by President Muhammadu Buhari. Many see this move by the President as a slap on the men and officers of the Custom Service. Many more saw Ali’s appointment as a message to the senior officers of the service that the president has not trust and confidence in them.
Moreover, the rice importation controversy is another trouble that has brewed in the service. Many officer were said not to be in support of the Comptroller General’s idea to open the Nigerian borders to the importation of rice, which many senior rank officers had fought to include in the list of banned items. Many worked with the last administration’s transformation agenda for Nigeria’s self sustenance in rice production. Before President Goodluck Jonathan left office, he had ordered importers who overshot their importation quota to pay the custom fees back to the Federal government.
The then Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, now President, African Development Bank(ADB) had as at January 2015, put the duties to be paid by rice importers to the Nigerian government at N36 billion. All these seems to be lost with the new administration.
Many believe that all these may account for the frustrations of the Deputy Comptroller Generals, which is next in rank to the Comptroller General, which left them with no other option than to leave the service.