Just days after his threat to prune the personnel of the Tin-Can Island Port Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over alleged overpopulation and indolence, Comptroller-General of Customs Dikko Inde Abdullahi has kept his word, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY can authoritatively report.
It was learnt that no fewer than 264 officers of the Tin-Can Island Port Area Command have been redeployed to various other Customs formations across the country, in one of the most sweeping of such exercises to hit the Command.
Thus, the number of personnel at the Tin-Can Island Port Area Command of the NCS has been slashed from 1,084 to 820.
This particular redeployment exercise, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered, cuts across officers down the ladder from the rank of Deputy Comptrollers to Customs Assistant II.
The redeployment, it will be recalled, is coming on the heels of the recent pronouncement by the Customs Comptroller-General to reduce the number of officers operating at the Command.
Abdulahi had, while addressing officers of the Tin-Can Island Port Area Command on the second day of his visit to Lagos last Wednesday stated that, due to the large number of officers operating at the Command, many according to him now concentrate on doing clearing jobs rather than facing their core duties.
He had expressed unhappiness with he described as 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 certain officers, pointing out that investigations carried out revealed that the exposed passwords of affected officers were being issued out willing and not compromised as a result of 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 licence.”
The Customs boss had advised the officers to redouble their efforts, especially in the third quarter of the year when volume of importation is high, by ensuring all revenue loopholes are blocked in order to maximize revenue collection.
“Some of you are holding importers’ consignments for no reason. If you are quick to release the cargo, that is when you have more revenue. But if you delay consignment, the revenue will be tied down,” he had said.