During his visit to the Command last week, Abdullahi said that, due to the large number of officers there, many, according to him, are now concentrating on doing clearing jobs, rather than facing their core statutory responsibilities.
He said that he is not happy with the many complaints reaching his office, especially on the hacking of the Customs server.
The Customs boss lamented the huge revenue loss as a result of the illegal release of consignment by so-called camp boys employed by the officers, pointing out that investigations carried out revealed that the passwords were issued out willingly and not based on carelessness.
Consequently, the number of officers currently operating at the Command, according to the Customs chief, will be reduced to one quarter and redeployed to Commands in the far north, adding that officers on investigation on issues bordering on password theft be ready to leave the Service.
“If you have any case of password, pack your load you, are leaving the Service. If you feel you can be employing the service of touts and camp boys and causing revenue leakages for government, then you are cursed,” Abdullahi had said.
He went on: “If you say the allegations are false, let me see your revenue for this month; if you exceed your target then I will know it is not true, but if you do not, then it means some of you are having license.”
But in a swift reaction, some of the officers who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY described Abdullah’s threat as “empty”.
“He is just doing a public show. If he wants to sack his officers, he doesn’t need to say it on the pages of newspapers. Let him go ahead and do it if he can. All he is doing is showmanship. It is a ploy to remain in office,” one of the officers, a lady, who will not want her name disclosed said.
Another officer, a middle-aged Superintendent of Customs also lambasted Abdullahi, describing him as a name-dropper.
“The CG acted on impulse and on the complaints of agents. He played to the gallery. He had spoken recklessly before he realised that he should have established the authenticity of the claims made by agents before passing a damning judgement on us. It is unbecoming of the man we used to respect. And he was quick to boast that nobody, including the President of this country and the Finance Minister, could remove him from office. It is only in Nigeria that a serving paramilitary chief can drag the name of the President in the mud and get away with it,” the officer stated.
Other officers, who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, also expressed reservation about the Customs chief’s threat, claiming that there was nothing going on in the Command that he was not privy to.