This year may have started on a gloomy note for 30 Comptrollers of Customs and their dependants as the Customs Board has confirmed their retirement from service.
According to competent sources at Customs headquarters, Abuja, the Federal Civil Service Commission has published names of 32 Comptrollers of Customs alongside 51 directors from various Federal Ministries.
Details of the lists sighted by our correspondent revealed that the federal civil service commission cited redundancy and stagnation in one rank for ten years and above as the reason why the officers must quit the service.
Ordinarily, the public service rule prescribes three years as the maturity period for officers to earn their promotion to the next grade level, between GL 08 and GL 14, while the maturity period to move between GL 14 and GL 17 is four years, our source revealed.
“If following simple logic, therefore, an officer entering the civil service with a first degree would require a minimum of 27years to attain the post of a director, “he said.
This invocation of the civil service rules, according to our source, was all that is needed to send these comptrollers back to their homes.
However, reports indicate that two comptrollers (names withheld) who hitherto fell among the retirees have been promoted to Assistant Comptrollers – General of Customs leaving 30 others, unlike 2004, were 75 comptrollers were sacked in what is today known as the Customs coup of 2004.
Some senior Customs officers who do not want their names in print perceive this as an ethnic cleansing. According to them, the premature sack of comptrollers is a plot to do away with a crop of officers who are seen as power mongers and aggrieved due to the maltreatment the service has meted to them.
An assistant comptroller who led the array of critics against the sack said, “it is a deliberate plot by the present Comptroller – General of Customs to sack because he is afraid of these officers some of whom have attained the rank of comptroller while he (Dikko) was still a Chief Superintendent of Customs (CSC).
While some of the critics accused the president of demystifying the strength of the North in the scheme of allocation of officers in the major parastatals, one of the affected retirees told our correspondent on phone that the present C.G., Alhaji Dikko plotted the coup to retire them in order to pave way for young and dynamic officers whom he will be able to control and manage without confrontation and insubordination having learned from the previous administration.
The Tide finding can authoritatively reveal that a look at the date of first appointment of the affected comptrollers shows that they joined the service in 1982 while the list of ages of the affected officers stand at 49,50,52 as provided by records sighted by our correspondent.
According to an inside source, there is a serious trouble brewing in the service due to this sack saga, adding that before the final ratification by the Customs board, the said officers had been lobbying to be posted to juicy commands to make something before their retirement but for those who don’t have political fathers or emirs and obas, they were left either in redundancy at the Customs headquarters or posted to unviable commands.
But on the sack of the 30 comptrollers, a maritime analysts Chief Chibuzor Ebere, noted that changes are usually meant for good, but when the changes come as a result of what could be avoided in the name of crisis, then the reason for the change is not genuine.
“It becomes more painful when these fellows are still very young (in their 50s) and below, very healthy and active. It means that over time you lose very useful materials in the name of changes,” Chief Ebere said.
He further remarked that what maritime experts want is modernization for efficiency, reinforcing the manpower by giving them more training to cope with the global changes in the maritime industry and not throwing the effective manpower.
A source confided in our correspondent that the 30 affected and aggrieved comptrollers may join the 75 comptrollers retired in 2004 and over15 ACGs and DCGs to challenge their premature sack in a law court and shore up support for their determination for re-instatement.
Redeployed Customs Officers Assume Office At New Posts
Redeployed Zonal coordinators and controllers affected by the recent swapping exercise in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have since taken over their new posts.
Assistant Comptroller General and Comptrollers affected by the change of batons have gone into action in the respective Zones and Area Commands respectively.
As at Press time, ACG Bello Jibo, the new Coordinator, Zone A, has begun to hold forth at the Harvey Road Zonal Headquarters in Yaba, Lagos.
Comptroller Dera Nnadi, Jaiyeoba, and Shuaibu have resumed their duties as Customs Area Controllers of Tincan Island Port, Apapa and Idiroko Commands respectively.
Comptroller Timi Bomodi has also begun overseeing customs activities at Seme-Krake Border Command.
In an exclusive chat with The Tide, Chairman, Seme Chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Clearing Agent (ANLCA), Chief Oyekachukwu Ojinma (aka Sule) described the outgoing Controller of the Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, as a very hard-working and dedicated man, while welcoming the new Customs Area Controller to the border post.
The ANLCA Chairman expressed his wish for a successful tenure of office for Compt. Timi Bomodi.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
‘Electricity Act Will Transform Power Sector’
Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has stated that the recently signed Nigerian Electricity Act, 2023, will play a fundamental role in transforming the power sector.
According to him, it will unlock the potential of the energy mix and promote the integration of renewable energy technologies into the grid system.
Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria Energy Conference and exhibition in Lagos, Adelabu said the Act aims to create an environment that supports sustainable growth and investment in the power industry by focusing on accelerated private investment and the promotion of renewable energy sources.
“As a game-changer that reformed the NESI, the Electricity Act will, undoubtedly, engender increased access to electricity and regulatory oversight, clean energy transition, improved service delivery, and infrastructural developments.
“In particular, the act will stimulate economic growth by creating a conducive environment for investment and competition. It will generate job opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract foreign direct investments”, he said.
The Minister called on operators in the power sector to intensify their efforts towards improving communication with the general public, emphasising that the Nigerian masses have a lot of roles to play in safeguarding power infrastructure.
He said issues such as vandalism, passing of meters, and damage to TCN and DisCo infrastructure must be addressed holistically to make significant gains in the power sector.
Adelabu emphasised that the power sector is a cornerstone for economic growth in the country and that the gains made over the years in the power sector can only be consolidated by unlocking equity investments and funds for power development.
He said: “Of course, a lot of investment is required in the power sector. In three weeks, I’ve seen humongous investments that have come into this sector.
“But what are the steps that are required for those investment opportunities to reap the benefit of those investments, additional investments in the form of equity and capex need to come into this industry.
“The power sector is not an industry for short-term players to invest in less than two to three years and expect to make maximum benefits.
“The industry requires medium to long-term investments. Investors must understand that the moment we can break even, we will start making profits in the power sector.
Adelabu also urged operators in the NESI value chain to improve their service delivery, adding that Nigeria’s energy expansion plan of 60,000 Megawatts by 2060 is an achievable target.
He, therefore, called on gas companies, GenCos, TCN, and DIScO to showcase their success stories in generating and transmitting power to the last mile that pays for all the segments of operators in the value chain.
‘Nigeria Loses $1.5bn Annually To Malnutrition’
Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, has said Nigeria loses $1.5 billion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to micronutrient deficiencies.
Bagudu therefore called for coordinated efforts to ensure a swift response with expected positive outcomes.
A statement released by the Ministry said the Minister disclosed this, last Tuesday, while speaking at the 53rd Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria in Abuja.
In the statement, Bagudu noted that the government was determined to tackle malnutrition through the inclusion of nutrition in the National Development Plan, and the Nigeria Agenda 2050.
“It is also a commitment to achieving optimal nutrition status for all Nigerians with particular attention to the vulnerable group as highlighted in the National Multisectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition”, he said.
Bagudu, who urged experts in nutrition in the country to research and develop innovations that will boost nutrition, explained that doing this “would contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring Universal Health Coverage, and bringing about significant positive changes in the nutrition sector in Nigeria”.
He told members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria “to prioritise innovation and research in the field of nutrition towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Coverage and transformation of the landscape of nutrition in Nigeria.
“Nigeria currently requires nutrition professionals who have extensive knowledge, good communication skills to address nutrition education, emotional intelligence as well and a good understanding of self-motivation and drive to address nutrition dynamics”.
The Minister urged the NSN to embrace technology, leverage digital solutions, and invest in research and development to find sustainable and scalable solutions to Nigeria’s nutrition challenges.
He assured members of the NSN that his ministry would strengthen coordination and provide the required leadership for the nutrition sector.
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, in his goodwill message, said the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had identified areas of key commitments for the realisation of a healthier citizen and country, including increasing budgetary spending on nutrition and strengthening the nutrition profile.
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