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‘Please, I need water’, last request of Customs officer who died at National Assembly

When Essien Etop Andrew, Deputy Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, walked into the National Assembly…

When Essien Etop Andrew, Deputy Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, walked into the National Assembly Complex, on Tuesday, there was no indication that he would not walk out of the parliament alive.

Andrew had led a team of top customs officers to the House of Representatives for an investigative hearing by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The deceased and his colleagues appeared before the Committee to make presentations on the revenue remittances by the Service.

“These levies as stated earlier is listed as federation account levies and it is the responsibility of the office of the Accountant general to say this money for sharing in FAAC, but for whatever reason that this money, which the Nigeria Customs Service has remitted into the appropriate account was not sent to the federation account, is what the service cannot give explanation,” he had said.

Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Bamidele Salam, had interjected by asking: “So your position is that this money was actually sent to the account provided by the Accountant-General and that the obligation of now taking it to the federation account is out of your own purview.”

Responding, the deceased had said, “Yes. The same thing applies for 2017 and 2017 can be seen in the next page. If you look at 2016, it encompasses other levies. Sir, I may need to take water.”

“Go ahead,” Bamidele had said, adding, “Do you need tea.? Can somebody please attend to him?”

Shortly after, he collapsed and was rushed to the House of Representatives Clinic, where he died.

In a statement issued by Abdullahi Maiwada, Public Relations Officer of Customs, the Service expressed shock over the death.

“It is with profound sadness and a deep sense of loss that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) announces the passing of Deputy Comptroller Etop Andrew Essien, who served as the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Revenue in the Account Unit of the service. Deputy Comptroller Essien, who was in charge of the reconciliation of revenue for the service, passed away on the 25th of June 2024 while making presentation before the National Assembly House Committee on Public Accounts.

“During his presentation, approximately three minutes in, Deputy Comptroller Essien requested water and showed signs of discomfort. Despite immediate efforts to assist him, he unfortunately passed away.

“Deputy Comptroller Essien was born on the 16th of November 1967 and joined the Nigeria Customs Service on the 27th of November 1989 with over three decades of service to our nation. Hailing from Nsit-Ubium in Akwa Ibom State, he was known for his diligence and exceptional service record in the Accounts Unit. His role as the DC Revenue was pivotal in ensuring the accurate reconciliation of revenue, which he performed with utmost precision and dedication.

“The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, On behalf of the entire officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, extends heartfelt condolences to the family of Deputy Comptroller Essien. “The loss of such a dedicated and valued team member is deeply felt across the Service. We are committed to supporting and assisting his family and colleagues as they navigate this difficult period.”

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