By Francis Ugwoke
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, may have stirred controversy over his claims that the agency sacked as many as 2,000 officers over allegations of corruption against them.
Ali made the claim last week Thursday during a media briefing organized by the Presidential Media Team in Abuja.
The customs boss said the sack was in the past seven years in what industry observers believe was since he came to office.
But industry stakeholders, including maritime journalists and freight forwarders, hold the view that the Customs boss may have inflated the number perhaps for political reasons.
Since the claim was reported, the Service has been under pressure to prove the claims the Customs boss made by providing a comprehensive list of officers who were affected in the sack.
The Service has unusually been silent on responding to the various views being expressed in different platforms that the custom chief may have lied.
In the latest development, the former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Eugene Nweke, at the weekend joined the list of those who are demanding evidence of such dismissal in the Customs.
In a press statement, Nweke, said, “Mr CGC sir, please publish names of the sacked officers, especially for the consumption of critical stake holders within our international frontiers, this will guide against further conspiracies in cargo clearance operations.
“Ideally, such sacked corrupt officers should be marked as serious ‘threat to Customs ports’, already characterised by name dropping.
Official announcement should be squared so as not to be seen to be subtly ‘aiding and abetting’ by design”.
Nweke said the CGC would have succeeded in aiding and abetting corruption in Service if he failed to disclose in details the names of those officers who were fired for corrupt practices.
Ali was also knocked for disclosing that seized rice from smugglers which he had described as dangerous to human health were distributed to IDP camps and needy after recertification.
Nweke said, “This is indeed commendable, however, the CGC is encouraged to make public the recertification for human consumption processes by the NAFDAC, and equally make public the scene of mass destruction of dangerous rice, this will assuage public apathy and general suspicious surrounding rice seizures and it’s recirculation”