With the recent sack of some junior and senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for various actS of misconduct, some personnel of the NCS have called on the Comptroller General, Hamed Ali to improve their welfare package in order to enhance their efficiency and reduce corruption.
The officers who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY said the Customs boss seems to have reneged on his promise to increase the remuneration and improve welfare of his officers on assumption of office last year.
One of the officers who said he did not want his name in print said the Customs management does not show they are interested in the welfare of officers especially those posted to border areas to patrol creeks.
He said despite the meagre monthly take home pay, some of them while on official patrol are still required to maintain and fuel their patrol vehicles hence they are encourage to look the other way.
“The CG promised to increase our welfare when he came in but till today nothing has happened. There are some monies we had about seven month ago was released for our bonuses and allowances to be paid but till today we did not hear anything about it again. 10 kobo has not been increase to our salary and none of our allowances has been paid.
“There is suppose to be money for maintenance of vehicles but we use our money to fuel and maintain our patrol vehicles while on official patrol. This is where the name corruption comes in.
“When your salary is not enough to cater for you and your family, you have to go extra miles to see how you will squeeze out money somewhere. How would you remit the money that you are supposed to remit to the federal government when you are not getting enough?
“If we are well paid, you just do your job and remit government revenue. Nobody will say you are corrupt. That is the problem we are facing.
He added that they face harassment and various attacks from suspected smugglers in the course of their operation.
“We face a lot of hazards in our operation. Sometimes it is harassment from passersby, some challenge you with weapons, some will come in group when you arrest their contraband and attack the team. Sometimes we lost our rifles; sometimes they burn our vehicles and even killed some officers,” he said.
Speaking along the same line, a regular caller on Ships & Ports daily breakfast radio programme on Radio One 103.5FM (Radio Nigeria) Lagos, Bashir Mohammed said while he is in support of the ongoing cleansing in the NCS, Customs officers’ welfare should be given a lot more consideration so that they will not be lured into corrupt practices.
“I am in total support of fighting corruption in the country. What the Service is doing in that regard is quite good but the officers’ welfare needs to be improved upon so that you will not have any excuse to go into any act of corruption.
“With the present economic situation, the salary is not enough for anything. So let the Service look into the issue of salary and welfare so that the eyes of the officers will not go towards corruption,” Mohammed said.
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