John Atte takes over Customs as Dikko bows out today

With the acceptance of Dikko Abdullahi’s resignation letter by President Muhammadu Buhari, the stage has been set for a hot contest to fill the post of Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Usually reliable sources informed SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that Dikko might be directed to hand over the reigns of office to the Deputy Comptroller General (DCG) in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Service (FATS), John Atte who will serve as Acting Customs Comptroller General from today pending the appointment of a substantive CG by the President. Atte is the most senior serving Deputy Comptroller General.

However, other senior Customs officers in the ranks of DCG and Assistants Comptroller-General (ACG) are seriously lobbying to succeed Dikko with the DCG Tariff and Trade, Adewuyi Akinade and DCG, Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Musa Tahir said to be enjoying the backing of some powerful politicians from the South West and North East respectively.

Adewuyi hails from Oyo State while Tahir hails from Yobe State.

The other DCGs who are adopting a wait-and-see attitude include Chukwuma Nwosu (Enugu State), Ibrahim Mera (Kebbi State) and Gabriel Aliu (Kogi State).

The NCS also has 17 Assistants Comptroller-General, any of whom could be picked by the President to succeed Dikko, according to usually reliable sources.

They are ACG Excise & Duty, Dan Ugo (Benue State); ACG Human Resource Development, Patient Iferi (Cross River); Strategic Research and Policy, Austin Warikoru (Bayelsa); ACG Tariff and Trade, Grace Adeyemo (Ondo); ACG Excise Department, Robert Alu (Nassarawa) and Coordinator, Zone B, Ade Dosunmu (Lagos State).

The other ACGs are Coordinator, Zone D, Paul Ukaigwe (Imo State); Coordinator, Zone C, Ahmed Muhammed (Jigawa State); ACG Human Resource Development, Adeshina Odumbaku (Lagos State); ACG Investigation and Inspection, Bello Liman (Sokoto State); ACG Industrial Incentives, Monday Abueh (Rivers State); Coordinator, Zone A, ACG Victor Gbemudu (Delta State); Madu Mohammed (Yobe State), who is serving on the NCS Board; ACG Information, Communication and Technology, Iya Umar (Adamawa) and ACG Finance and Revenue, Bridget Okafor (Anambra).

Abdullahi had earlier written a letter dated August 3 to the President in which he notified Buhari of his desire to proceed on voluntary retirement from August 18.

Buhari’s approval of Abdullahi’s request was dated August 14 and personally signed by the President.

He thanked the NCS boss for his services to the county in the last six years.

The President’s letter was titled “Voluntary retirement from the Nigeria Customs Service.”

The approval read, “Dear, Alhaji D.I. Abdullahi. I write to acknowledge the receipt of your letter Ref. No. NCS/ADM/HQ/P. 35802 of 3rd August, 2015 conveying your decision to voluntarily retire from the Nigeria Customs Service with effect from Tuesday, 18th August, 2015.

“I note with appreciation your services to this nation, especially as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service in the last six (6) years.

“Accordingly, I hereby approve your voluntary retirement from the Nigeria Customs Service with effect from 18th August 2015.

“I wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

“Yours sincerely, Muhammadu Buhari.”

Abdullahi had, in his letter to the President, thanked him for the confidence and trust reposed on him since he (Buhari) was inaugurated on May 29.

He said by August 18, he would be six years in office as the Comptroller-General of the NCS.

He recalled that on assumption of office, he articulated six-point agenda which he vigorously pursued.

He said the agenda had positively impacted on the efficiency and performance of officers of the service and had drastically changed the negative perception of the service.

He listed the six-point agenda to include capacity building, introduction of e-Customs, enhancing productivity through improved welfare package, moral rebirth for discipline and integrity in service, collaboration and partnering with stakeholders and international organisations, as well as  fostering understanding of the Service in the eye of the general public  using an intensified and a well-coordinated public relations platform.

The NCS boss said under his watch, the revenue collection into various coffers of government increased drastically.

He said the Service’s average monthly collection in 2009 when he took over was about N29billion, adding that the average monthly collection is currently between N90billion and N100billion.

He hinged his decision to embark on voluntary resignation on the need to allow young bloods to takeover the mantle of leadership of the Service in order to sustain and improve on his legacy.

Abdullahi concluded, “While thanking Your Excellency and indeed Nigerians for the opportunity to serve and contribute my quota to the development of our fatherland, I wish to seek approval of Your Excellency to be allowed to retire voluntarily on 18th August 2015.

“This decision is taken with a view to allowing young bloods takeover the mantle of leadership of the Service in order to sustain and improve on my legacy.”

The President has yet to name Abdullahi’s successor at the time of filing this report.



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