Customs recruitment complies with federal character, says Ali
• As strike force team says Chinese nationals smuggling contrabands into Nigeria
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has said that the recruitment process of the service is devoid of bias and in compliance with the Federal Character Commission’s (FCC) policy.
Ali stated this during his visit to the cadets on training at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos.
Recall that there had been an outcry regarding the lopsidedness in the recruitment process of the NCS, as highly-placed Nigerians, including serving officers of the service, lobby for their candidates to scale through the recruitment exercise.
But the Customs Controller General has said that the recruitment process is in tandem with the federal character principle as enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution, as each of the 774 local governments across the country is represented.
Ali said the selection process ensures four categories of officers in levels 8, 6, 4 and 3 are from the 774 local governments in Nigeria.
The CGC said the service is the only government agency that recruits committed and determined individuals on merit.
“The NCS management identified the factors that need to be considered, which is how we ensure quality candidates are recruited and to ensure that every local government has a representation.
“Because we are recruiting four categories of officers, level 8, 6, 4 and 3, we made it clear that each of the 774 local governments in Nigeria will produce four customs officers each in the categories. That is how we have worked through what we are seeing today.
“In the past, people brought names and they were recruited, but we changed that, we want to ensure only those who are interested in becoming Customs officers are selected for this,” he stated.
MEANWHILE, NCS has disclosed that Chinese nationals are now smuggling contrabands into Nigeria, just as the service seized some items worth N37.8 million imported by the Asians into the South West region of the country.
The coordinator of Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Strike Force, Team A, Deputy Comptroller Mohammed Yusuf, said the Service is currently trying some Chinese who are behind the smuggling of 663 sacks of fairly-used shoes recovered from a warehouse along the Lagos-Shagamu expressway.
Yusuf said the NCS unit also intercepted eight trucks of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country from the neighbouring Benin Republic, 20ft containers of timber worth N177.7million, 1000 foreign smuggled rice with duty paid value of N43.2 million, 3,143 pieces of used tyres worth N75.4milion and used clothes worth N33.8 million.
Yusuf said the total value of the goods impounded along the nation’s borders and warehouses across the state within four weeks was worth N373.63 million.
He said the Strike Force Team also collected N648 million as revenue through demand notices.
Yusuf said three persons, including a “one-eyed” old man, were arrested for their alleged involvement in some of the seizures.
He said investigations carried out by the strike force team revealed that the Chinese owners of the warehouse where the fairly used shoes were recovered are presently on the run, adding that effort is ongoing to ensure their arrest.
He also disclosed that the warehouse has been sealed, adding that anyone who broke the seal would be arrested and charged in line with the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
“This is just the beginning of a heated anti-smuggling action which we have embarked upon in the entire South West area of the country.
“We are ready to run smugglers out of town. This task is aimed at protecting our national economy and preventing dangerous importation as well as exportation that contradicts the law,” he warned.