The association made this known to the press in a statement signed by the Deputy National President, Logistics of NAGAFF, Mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi who stated that anxiety and uncertainty resides in the minds of the many operational officers of the Customs Service and industry stakeholders as a result of the on-going reforms and has called on the Comptroller-General Customs Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), to exercise restraint.
According to him, “The situation at the ports indicates that corruption is on the increase at the ports because most of the officers are of the belief that they may either be retired or transferred. So the situation is, get what you can, while you can because you do not know what will happens next.”
Nnadi said that although the government may have good intentions, there is the need for consultations to be made with the stakeholders and other concerned parties before arriving at conclusions on port related matters and administration.
He enthused, “In the opinion of NAGAFF it shall be our desire that Rtd. Col. Ali Hameed may wish to appeal to Buhari to relieve him of his duty in the Customs as soon as the two aspects of his mandate to restructure and reform the Service are reasonably achieved. To avoid tainting his earned respect and integrity in the revenue generation department.”
He further stated, “It is also important that care is observed to avoid brain drain in the personnel of the Service and we are glad that Ali had accepted the fact that NCS personnel cannot be separated from the greater number of Nigerians on matters of corruption.
In his words, “The ongoing reforms and restructuring should be transparent to avoid undue speculations of witch-hunting. Considering that it is alleged that the expected workforce for Comptrollers in the Service may be 75 officers, where there are over 140 serving Comptrollers calls for extreme caution. To restructure the Service it means that half of the Comptrollers will have to go. The modalities to disengage the officers must be transparent. We must appreciate the fact that Customs officers like other civil servants are in contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria and therefore there must be restraint the way they are forcefully retired without reaching the mandatory date and time of their tenureship. We are in a democracy.”
He added that the welfare and living wages of officers should be the driving force of reforms.