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Customs to pay N1.8bn deceased officers’ claims, sue insurance firms

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has said the Service will pay N1.819 billion claims to families of deceased officers between…

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has said the Service will pay N1.819 billion claims to families of deceased officers between 2009 and 2014, and sue four defaulting insurance firms.

Declaring this on Monday while inaugurating a committee to clear the claims’ backlog within six weeks in three tranches, Col. Ali said for undisclosed reasons the consortium comprising Niger Insurance, Great Nigeria Insurance, Chrome Insurance and Country and City Insurance did not pay the Group Life Assurance and Group Personal Accidents liabilities during the period.

He said “We have taken all the steps that we can including reporting them to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) but to no avail. Maybe we will end up, with the advice of the legal adviser, going to court.”

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) boss said the people that suffer most from this are families and next of kin of the deceased officers.

“What we did was to liaise with the National Assembly (NASS) in last year budget within our fund to pay up these claims to alleviate the suffering. How to get the money from the brokers will be decided in court,” Ali noted.

Tasking the seven-man committee, he said: “Every Kobo will be paid with the supervision of the office of the CGC. It is our hope that this will alleviate the sufferings of our people.”

Also inaugurating an eight-man committee to distribute perishable goods seized by NCS, he said Customs warehouses were filled and the need to distribute rice and other goods before the rainy season.

Ali said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the inclusion of formal orphanages and crisis areas beside the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. “We are looking at in the next six weeks, we should be able to distribute this consignment,” Ali said.

The CGC has also ordered a comprehensive biometric exercise to capture all officers and men of the Service. Ali said there were disparities in the figure of the workforce.

“There are officers who have been chopped out of the Service but they are still wearing uniforms and extorting money.  These are the ones giving us a bad name,” he said.

He said there are forms that will be used to input data in the computer for the biometrics noting that, “After the time, anybody for any reason that refuses to fill and submit this form at the time of submission should consider himself out.”