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More than 2,000 officers sacked over sharp practices – Customs CG

The Controller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), retired Colonel Hameed Ali, has said over 2,000 officers have been sacked  in the last seven…

The Controller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), retired Colonel Hameed Ali, has said over 2,000 officers have been sacked  in the last seven years over sharp practices.
He said this Thursday while featuring at the 53rd Session of the State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, in Abuja.
The CG said some of those who had been sacked equally got prosecuted and jailed as his administration has zero tolerance for corrupt officers.
Ali said many of them were found to be shortchanging the Service in its revenue drive, especially on the duties that were supposed to be paid for imported vehicles.
He said that some importers who engaged in sharp practices that impinged on the activities of the Service had either been suspended or prosecuted.
He said most vehicle owners were guilty of under-declaration as vehicles of 2022 model were registered as 2015 in order not to pay the right duty,
Ali said some agents who were not transparent insisted that money be paid into their accounts in order to engage in sharp practices, stating that vehicle owners can do it on their own with the introduction of technology.
“We have sacked more officers than custom has ever do. Over 2000 plus officers have been sacked,” he said.
On border security and the suggestion on the need to build fences, he said, “We do not have capacity and money to build fences. Trump realized that it’s not sustainable. Between us and Niger, we have perfect system. Where we have problem is Benin. Smuggling is one of the oldest exploit. We can reduce it to lowest minimum. That is why we are eager to deploy scanners at all entrances.
The Customs boss added, “The only way we can protect our borders is huge investments in technology. That’s the policy of Nigerian Government and that is what we are pursuing.
“In 2019, we closed the borders to ensure that illicit items are not brought into the country and ensure that rice are not smuggled into the country.
“We agreed on joint border patrol team. From Cross River up to Yobe. To make sure our borders are protected. Military asked us to leave theatre area in North East. We jointly work with Air force.
“We will train our officers to paradrop with the help of Nigerian Army. We are doing much as we can to make sure our borders are protected.
“We work closely with the Navy. If we have any intelligence that has to do with them, we pass it to Navy.”
The CG said Customs would acquire one more aircraft in addition to the two existing ones for monitoring the activities of law breakers on our borders.
The customs boss, who said he would continue to do his best to ensure excellent services, expressed optimism that the standard he had set would be maintained with the adoption of technology.
On the structure put in place to sustain his legacies, he said: “God will only ask me for the period I am in custom….I will do the best I can. Reforms are critical to success of any organisation.
“The best way custom can succeed is technology. It cannot be reversed. That is what we are doing.”
On the seized items, Ali said perishable items were given to Internally Displaced Persons to alleviate their sufferings, while others foodstuff like rice were handed over to the  Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for proper coordination after gotten the approval of President Muhamadu Buhari.
He added that seized items were also auctioned online, thereby boosting revenue by some percentage.
He revealed that the N19bn Customs headquarters would be commissioned by Mr President in two months and spoke on efforts to achieve N3.019 trillion revenue target.
Asked to speak on goods that had been given waivers, he said: “We don’t approve waivers. We implement waivers. We will streamline the regime of waivers.”

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