Dikko should intervene in the illegal arrest of traders transporting rice within the borders.
Sir, history will hardly fail to recall the name Abdullahi Dikko, CFR, as Nigeria’s Comptroller General of Customs. For the past two years that you have been in charge, you have led a positive revolution that has changed the face of the Customs service in the country, thus demonstrating that you are gentleman that has the nation at heart.
You have proven yourself a collector’s item in the eye of the Nigerian media as shown in the collection of various newspaper articles across different publications which describe your achievements within the short period you have been head of the nation’s second rated revenue collection department. The press, as watchdog of society must have conducted a lot of research before it scored the Comptroller General as the best CCG in the history of customs service in the country.
Two things make me personally proud to write about you. One: as a human being, one has to associate oneself with success and the success being recorded by the Customs service at present is something worth being proud of as a citizen. Two: being a journalist has made it clear to see how the public views the service’s image before and now.
The Service under Mr. Dikko has continued to strive to keep local entrepreneurs hope alive by ensuring that contraband goods that can hinder the growth of local industries are kept at bay through stringent anti-smuggling tactics. These policies of the Comptroller-General are gradually changing the perception of Nigerians towards the service. Gradually, Nigerians now believe that after a long time of negative and unethical records, the NCS is waking up to its responsibilities.
In the effective policing of our entry points, Mr. Dikko’s efforts are being complimented by lieutenants who are reading the lips of the boss that complete transformation is now here. The eagle eyes of the anti-smuggling teams put in place have become a nightmare for smugglers who are now waking up to the reality that the days of eye service business are over. However, not refusing to give up easily, these unscrupulous elements are now devising various new means to beat the dragnet set for them by anti-smuggling teams. One of the ploys they now employ is to periodically change their point of smuggling activities.
The custom officers manning this entry point have significantly brought the anti-smuggling policy of the Comptroller-General to bear on the route. Investigations reveal that they have continually encouraged owners of the goods to pay their dues and retrieve them legally. This act has greatly helped to re-orientate these smugglers that it is cheaper and easier to bring goods through the nation’s borders instead of trying to evade payment of dues through bribes. The effort of these gentlemen is commendable and so it should be emulated by others in the Service and not discouraged.
But Sir, something is happening in Federal Operation Unit Zone B Customs Service Command that has never happened before. The new management seems different from others when it comes to listening to general complaints of stakeholders, especially the traders and small petty traders- from trade liberation to paradox relation with traders at Kano markets in the name of revenue generation.
The new Comptroller in the zone, in the name of Federal Government’s zero tolerance for importation of rice through illegal routes, wants to create a trade imbalance between the local rice millers and traders at the various Kano markets.
One of the issues raised by the concerned Kano rice sellers is the way and manner the Nigeria Customs Service are giving special treatment to some selected rice millers in the country to import rice daily. However, any petty trader that buys rice in Kano market, on their way to Katsina, Jigawa or Sokoto, men of the Nigeria Customs arrest and harass them, charging them an unnecessary levy- all in the name zero tolerance for rice importation.
I believe the Comptroller General has knowledge of what transpired between some Kano marketers and customs two years ago, where there were illegal arrests over goods transported within the city or major highways. You intervened and ordered your men to stop such arrests.
With the way the Comptroller -General has helped the Nigerian business community by protecting their interest and helping them carry out their business legitimately, the approach of the new head of zone B is retrogressive, to say the least.
We have to salute the efforts being made by Mr. Dikko in educating traders on contraband goods as has been said, ignorance of law is not an excuse.
The new head of the zone should wake up and settle with Kano marketers to iron out the problems on ground.
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