We believe that most of these customs officers are corrupt, so I believe the directive that they should declare their assets would help curtail some of their tendencies of corruption. By you saying that you have 10 naira this year, by next year we’ll see whether you still have 10 naira or 50 naira. The margin of what you had yesterday until today will determine how corrupt or otherwise you are. If you are in government or in an organization, and you are given code of conducts or ethics in that organization you have to abide by it or you leave. So it is not an attempt to witch hunt anybody.
It is a welcome development. Any good citizen of the country is supposed to lean on the path of the law and work within the law that is what makes one a good citizen. This is a directive of the government and it has to be adhered to. Any organization that lacks discipline or code of conduct is criminal and all nations of the world condemn criminality. So I don’t know why people would ascribe it to witch hunting, it is a straightforward thing, government says lean on the part of the law and one has to adhere to that. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that because the CG of customs is representing the government. The government says this is what has to be done and it must be adhered to. Prior to this time, constitutions are made and nobody bends the constitution this is part of the constitution of Nigeria. The way I see it, everybody must cling to the agenda of President Mohammadu Buhari to fight corruption and I think this is part of it. When you declare your assets, you simply do not have anything to hide.
Prince Chris Agba
I see it as a welcome development. I know really that there are some grievous sins, I mean officers who have engaged in corrupt practices but for those whose hands are clean they don’t need to be agitated. If your hands are clean, declare your assets and tell the world you are innocent, you don’t need to fear. So it is a welcome development, if we are facing the action let’s do it once and for all and get it right. If we get it right, others will build on the foundation. For those saying it is an attempt to witch hunt them, I think everybody is entitled to his own opinion, I don’t see it as witch hunting, we know the president is a disciplined man, that is what we believe in and we voted him and he told us before now that he would fight corruption. He did not tell us he will fight corruption fifty percent, he said he would fight the totality of corruption and that is what he is doing.
It is not just a welcome development, it is part of the norms of the Nigeria Customs Service that officers should declare their assets every four years and this has not been in place over the years. So for the CG to come up with that directive, it is a welcome idea. When officers key in with modality of the work they are doing, they are supposed to be doing that every four years. I know of officers that declare their asset so if it is coming up now let them start doing it. In Customs, that is the civil service rule meaning every four years you must declare your asset. Although it was not given much attention during the former CG tenure, I believe it is part of the change that they want us to go back to so people need to be reminded to do it. For those who are kicking against it, it means they are not fit to be in the service; because accountability and patriotism should be the watchword so we would know those ready to serve.
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