Discordant Tunes at Nigeria Customs Service

Col Ali with senior customs officers.

Col Ali with senior customs officers.


**EFCC Assets Investigation Of Senior Customs Officers:  Indicted Officers Allegedly Promoted

The appointment of Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service in the person of Hamid Ali by President Mohammadu Buhari was received with mixed feelings.

While many believe he is a round peg in a round hole in a government own agency whose fortunes have continued to dwindle as a result of untamed perennial corruption that has characterised their operations, others believe that President broke the norms by appointing someone outside ‘the fold’ to man the outfit, stirring the belief that Hamid who sits at the helm of affairs in Customs may not be in charge of the intrigues playing out in Nigeria Customs Service.

However, those who know the antecedent of the man Hamid Ali will readily tell you that he is incorruptible and will definitely bring those virtues of selflessness, ruggedness, dedication to duty and patriotism to bear in a government agency many believed has been enmeshed in untamed corruption.  Rightly said, he is one of those people believed to be going to aid President Buhari’s vision for a corrupt-free Nigeria.

During a radio call-in programme immediately after the appointment of the Hamid Ali, one of the commentators who called in described Hamid Ali as a selfless man and one of the few Nigeria leaders who did not amass corrupt wealth from positions they held.

‘I guess President Buhari is looking for men of like minds who put service first before anything and in my opinion, Hamid fits into that vision’, the caller concluded.

As near perfect as many believe Hamid Ali is, events unfolding and news exclusively revealed to us indicate that after all, he may not be in charge of the Nigerian Customs Service even though he is placed in charge.  An insider information exclusively made available to us indicate that Dikko’s influence is reigning supreme in Customs and may frustrate every move by the incumbent government led by Muhammadu Buhari to reposition Nigeria Customs. For instance, we learnt that many senior management officers received Sallah and Christmas gifts from importers, agents, shippers and other stake holders in flagrant disrespect of the CG’s orders and example.

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The appointment of 2 ACGs from the same Bauchi state where Hamid Ali hails from have been seen in some quarters as the height of nepotism which in turn my dwarf every noble vision the CG has ever had in his new job. ‘Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Yola are under North East Zone and if Hamid Alli did not find it expedient to appoint even one ACG from any other state aside Bauchi {Same State he hails from}, then we could rightly deduce that he is not the angel we all believed he was.  Again, do you know that the 2 ACGs he appointed from Bauchi were not the highest in ranking from Bauchi, yet he went ahead to appoint them over their senior officers’.  An officer who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said.


It will be recalled most recently, officers from Economic and Financial Crime Commission invaded the residence of former CG of Customs, Alh. Abdullahi Inde Dikko.  They were alleged to have ransacked Dikko’s living rooms and every corner of the house.

Till date, the clear reason for that invasion has not been made public.  However, it was revealed to us exclusively that Dikko has already succeeded in perfecting all strategies that will dwarf every probe of his tenure by strategically and subtly foisting his men on unsuspecting Hamid Ali, cashing in on his naivety.

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Our source disclosed that ACG Sanusi {ACG Headquarters} is working for Dikko and may have been the brain behind recent transfers that saw many of Dikko’s ‘boys’ being placed in Sea Ports and Strategic Land Borders in tandem with DCG Sulaiman.

‘The CG was sold a dummy that because ACG Sanusi and ACG Azarema hail from Bauchi, they would be very instrumental in helping him achieve his vision of cleansing rot in the service without knowing that he has just harboured cats that look like  lambs that will soon rip him off and cause his reputation irreparable damage’.  Another insider who seems to be in the know said.

‘For instance, Dimka was notoriously ‘used’ by former Comptroller General Dikko in Federal Operations Lagos and Owerri and the new Ali-led Customs considered it expedient as well to recall the man and reposted him to Seme. This same Comptroller was ‘the sweeper’ involved in series of financial scam and questionable seizures along Idiroko-Iseyin-Ibadan axis earlier.

Yet we claim to be looking for Dikko when all his ‘proxies’ with massive financial clouts and resources are in strategic positions sneaking out information for him and cleaning up his mess.  Who is deceiving who here?  This is disservice to the Nigeria Nation’ Another top officer opined.


Aside assets declaration that was ordered for in Customs, the President ordered a probe to the financial activities of top Customs Officers of Dikko’s regime which many hailed as unprecedented bravery and clear-sightedness.

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A source revealed that the probe report have been hijacked and sat upon by Dikko’s boys and Hamid Ali seems helpless under the circumstance as those indicted in the probe are majorly those that have been promoted to different levels of authority and command in Nigeria Customs Service.  ‘So it is obvious that someone acts smarter than another, otherwise how can you order a probe that almost indicted over 95% of the top echelon of the service and yet the objective of the probe seems defeated already’.  One source questioned.

In the strength of the above, it is only desirable that the wind of change and the current anti-corruption crusade blow once more through Nigeria Customs Service to avert further subversion of National treasure and income. While many Nigerians have pledged their supports for the success of Buhari led government vis-à-vis institutions like Nigeria Customs Service and other Revenue Generating Agencies, it is expedient that Hamid Ali should look deeper than the surface to ensure that he has a team who thinks and believe in Nigeria project beyond sentiments.

Light Iheoma Shedrack is an Author and Social Right Activist, wrote from Abuja 

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