When Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi was appointed the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), promoting zero tolerance for corruption was listed as part of the six-point agenda of his administration.
On assuming office, Abdullahi had pledged to tackle corruption in the system headlong, vowing to dismiss personnel caught perpetrating sharp practices.
This Abdullahi’s idea was lauded by stakeholders, who were desirous of positive attitudinal change by the NCS.
Could be that on a personal level, Abdullahi may have kept faith with this particular aspect of his six-point agenda, but recent issues surrounding the continuous request for Single Declaration of Good (SGD) document by officers of the Service may cast doubt on the truth in the campaign of zero tolerance for corruption within the NCS.
Just last week, this medium had reported that, though the use of the SGD forms has been scrapped by the NCS because it is no longer relevant under the current dispensation of online direct data input by shippers and their agents, unscrupulous Customs personnel at the various Area Commands have continued to feed fat on the illegal sales of the forms.
That exclusive report by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY detailed how desk officers at the various Customs Processing Centres (CPCs) have continued to insist on sighting and endorsing SGD forms, even after declarations have been done online on the platform of the Direct Traders’ Input (DTI) under the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA++).
Officially, the printing and sales of SGD forms discontinued two years ago with the introduction of DTI.
The Customs personnel and their cohorts, who facilitate the printing of the forms unofficially, sell same at the various commands for N2,000 per form.
A combined total of between 15,000 and 20,000 SGD forms are sold daily at just these five revenue-generating Customs Area Commands located in Lagos, namely: Apapa Area One, Tin-Can Island, PTML, Lilypond and Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, fetching between N30 million and N40 million into the pockets of unscrupulous Customs officers and their accomplices.
Since SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reported the case, many operators, especially Customs agents have come out to affirm that that is the exact situation.
It is, therefore, difficult for one to reconcile the sermon on zero tolerance for corruption by the Service and the SGD racketeering saga.
If truly the NCS Management is keen on actualising its much-touted and praise-worthy position on corruption, this particular situation would not have arisen.
The NCS management must certainly rise up to the occasion for it to truly earn the trust of stakeholders concerning the zero tolerance for corrupt practices effort.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.