A bizarre drama played out yesterday morning at the Nigerian Customs Headquarters, Abuja, when an Assistant Superintendent of Customs (ASC1), Nura Dalhatu, promoted himself to the rank of Deputy Comptroller General and then invaded the office of the Controller General of Customs (CGC) Ahmed Ali, to take over as the new boss.
Dalhatu allegedly claimed to be carrying out a presidential order. He has since been arrested. A source said: “As he came in, officers were saluting him because he was wearing that rank. Sometime in May, he had posted on his Facebook wall that he had been directed by the president to take over from Hameed Ali, and today when we saw him in the new rank, we thought, indeed, he has been promoted and so directed by the president. He went inside the CG’s office, sat in the waiting room, expecting the CG to handover to him.”
Spokesman for the Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, said in a statement that the officer was already at the customs medical centre to determine his frame of mind and is currently undergoing a medical test.
He said: “What happened was that an assistant superintendent of customs came to the office wearing the rank of a deputy comptroller-general.
From questions and answers that followed, it was obvious that he was not in the right frame of mind, so a doctor was immediately invited. He is presently undergoing a medical examination at the medical unit of the service.”
Dahiru had entered into the office of the customs boss informing him that Buhari had appointed him as the new CG and he was there to take over from Hameed Ali. There are eight ranks between the ASC and DCG, which is a top management rank next to the Comptroller General of Customs.
Customs officers that spoke with The Guardian expressed dismay that such a scene had never happened in the service. Many in fact initially dismissed it as fake story. “It has never happened before and nobody ever expected that such a thing could happen. So, it is very difficult to speculate on the type of sanctions that await the accused,” an officer said.
Attah dismissed the report on social media that the officer wanted to assume duty as comptroller-general, adding that there was nothing like attempting to takeover, rather it was a case of mental challenge.