One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice

One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice


Effective communication is the bedrock of any successful enterprise. A well-crafted strategic communication plan not only ensures alignment with organizational goals but also fosters a cohesive and motivated workforce (Rome Business School, Nigeria,2024).

The inference, therefore, is that much is expected from the first corporate communication expert Comptroller General of Customs(CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, who is also a polyglot with international relations background.

He was not just the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) for over a decade but a board member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations(NIPR).

He was appointed on acting capacity as the CG of Customs on Monday June 19, 2023 but got confirmed as substantive CG in October,2023.

He has no choice but to deliver exceptional performance to show himself a worthy ambassador of the communication community, where sitting faceless and pulling the trigger for project execution is the norm.

Disappointing his principal on this seat is not considered a big deal; a dozen of other appointees have done that already and nothing may happen. The big picture is showcasing a unique selling point (USP) for himself and his immediate constituencies consisting of the Customs family, Communications practitioners, Maritime community, among others.

Today, Mr. Adeniyi is a serious test case and a case study for communication practitioners on deploying strategic communication for effective leadership by practitioners in leadership position.

Adewale Adeniyi’s Revolution In The Customs: One Outstanding Year

 Don’t forget that the responsibility of a leader is to create the condition under which greatness will thrive, not to create greatness in people. To what extent has he created the enabling environment?

Can Adeniyi be said to have brought his knowledge to bear in managing the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) for the good of stakeholders and the nation at large in this one year?

His careful stakeholders’ mapping on assumption of office and simplified focus on Consolidation, Collaboration and Innovation set the stage  to convey his vision to align with the Service’s objectives for the country’s growth and people’s well- being.

Like Chinese leaders who have used their consistent messaging to rally the nation behind their goals, Adeniyi has used his tripod agenda to rally stakeholders in different hue to communicate his vision.

Like Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, known for his productive meetings, Adeniyi’s ability to facilitate  discussions  and encourage collaboration has helped in shaping an emerging new customs order.

The CGC maintained a strong team better than himself. In Malaysia, leaders like Tun Abdul Razak emphasized

collective efforts over personal gain, thereby fostering unity and inclusivity in communication and project engineering(Sheffield Business School,2023).

He emphasizes   “We’ over “I”. It is debatable if any CGC in over decades of customs operation in Nigeria rallied the support of the media and public relations practitioners like Adeniyi has done. He got the buy in across board and carried all along, to make his success or failure a collective stake.

 Like Lee Kuan Yew who led Singapore to independence and took full responsibility for decisions made, making commitment to good governance; Adeniyi took responsibility for the failure of most decisions by management of NCS. He struck out the deadly and revenue- hungry Customs Strike Force used by his predecessor to generate illicit revenue from importers.

His open-door policy is disarming and makes him own up to areas of mistakes while communicating the organization’s  apology and vision as well as soliciting cooperation and synergy where necessary. The feedback message is not lost in the process.

Adewale Adeniyi’s Revolution In The Customs: One Outstanding Year

Harvest of praises, however, dotted the one year in office anniversary of Adeniyi in office. Many well-wishers forgot to leave pieces of advice behind like good elders.

Stakeholders’ interviews on the one year anniversary are engaging as they are revealing.

Using the three pillars for effective communications, application of innovation is very apt in the Time Release Study(TRS) which is a key deliverable project in Adeniyi’s leadership, is considered as wobbling for breath.

The operations of Tin Can Island Customs and some terminals located there, are dangerously laid back. The old- long room experience of delayed cargo delivery in customs with table by table human interference is still much around.

 Also, except PTML, all other terminals in Tin Can Island Port are not automated as claimed. Investigation revealed that it takes an average of one month to take delivery of cargo in these terminals except in PTML.

This calls for more stakeholders’ engagement in Tin Can Island, where incidentally, is the pilot take off point of the TRS. This is meant to improve cargo clearance efficiency at ports. It is an organized approach to measuring the total time taken from the arrival of goods to their release. It aims to identify bottlenecks, reduce clearance times and enhance trade facilitation.

There has to be more disclosure on the findings to the public by members of the committee. It is noted that the ultimate success of the scheme is dependent on the response and preparedness of other agencies and stakeholders, but the public needs to know who to hold accountable.

 (A detailed report on Time Release Study is coming)


It’s Too Early For Performance Assessment-Aniebonam

One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice


Chief Boniface Aniebonam is the founder of the foremost freight forwarding group, National Association of Government Approved Forwarders (NAGAFF) and seasoned and influential professional freight forwarder in Nigeria. He made a brief assessment of the CGC’s one year in office. Excerpt:


What is your assessment of the CGC’S one year in office? 

Generally, I think that it is too early for assessment. This culture of assessing performance under one year is really not ideal. You know when you get into a system that is not working you need reasonable time to fix things right.

So far, to me the most important thing is the access to the person in authority.  Running an open-door policy is a very big plus for him. And in terms of trade facilitation and time release study,he has made a substantial move in that. I think what is required however is a follow-up.  He has also done so much in stakeholders’ engagement.

On the revenue side, they are doing well. On trade facilitation, they are doing well. But I think a point here should be noted. People misunderstand the words. You cannot facilitate legitimate trade. To this extent, trade facilitation still has a little problem because people are not making genuine declaration. For us to work on enhancing operation, it is desirous for those who come to do business to learn how to be genuine in their declaration.

On time release study, I still find it very difficult to appreciate why one can take delivery of cargo in Tin Can Port PTML terminal under two or three days. But in the same Tin Can Port, Port and Cargo Terminals and others, it could take like a month or two. Why is it like that?

Sometimes, it might be very difficult to discuss things like this. You cannot compare PTML with Apapa, the mother port. A lot is involved in terms of cargo throughput. But we may not be talking of Customs service in this regard now but service providers may lack the equipment. PTML may have the equipment. However, if you know somebody who is always in a hurry, it must be a freight forwarder. So, may be the other terminal operators in Tin Can Port can find out what is happening in PTML because an agent would not want to experience delay.

But like I said, genuine declaration for customs purpose is a road map for trade facilitation. Generally, PTML seems specialized in vehicle handling.  If you go to terminals with scanners, you discover that scanners are not built to scan homogeneous goods. If. they are not homogeneous then there is problem. The cargo may be a suspect which means you have to prepare for a second time, which is a physical examination.

We have to learn how to do genuine declaration,that is where the problem lies and I think it also affects the 24 hours cargo clearance.  What I thought was the problem has been cleared and that is the issue of the 41 items. So what is the problem again? The opportunity is there for everybody now to make declaration.

On capacity building, especially training freight forwarders or customs  officers, how would you rate him?

On capacity building, he is wonderful in that area especially that of Customs officers. Even before Wale came, officers  were well trained.  But for freight forwarders, I can’t say much. But you know NAGAFF has an Academy where it trains its members.

On innovation or technology, have you experienced any form of changes in cargo clearance? 

What you see there is inherent human abuse. If we continue to act in a manner that does not seem to be in conformity with the rules of engagement, technology may not add that kind of value. For instance, if you have a bill of lading saying you are carrying electrical goods, what kind of electrical good? You need to state the classification of what you are carrying. Are you carrying bulb or fuse?  If you claim electrical material and we end up seeing inverter battery, it cannot be said to be electrical material because inverter battery is specific in customs code. Besides it is an expensive product.


Lastly, here is the exchange rate…..

That one is no-go-area. And at this point, it has nothing to do with Customs; it is the responsibility of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Whatever rate they give to Customs is what Customs apply for calculation of duty. However, it has created a lot of destruction and distortion to trade especially its inconsistency. It does not allow traders to plan their business. For instance, at a time, someone bought a dollar at the rate of N1, 900  and all of a sudden it dropped to N1,200. How do people who bought dollar at these different rates compete in the market? It makes non- sense of the economy.  The man who bought his at N1,900 is already a dead man!  He is out of the business because he can’t compete.  This is remote cause of circumventing customs rules. People cut corners to make profit.


How can Customs help in security matters? 

Customs is the face of security matters in Federal Government. And there is a collaboration amongst agencies of the government. Customs is the leading agency, if they see something, they say something. If they see arms, they will invite the police to take responsibility. If they see fake products that is injurious to human, they will alert SON and NAFDAC. So Customs has been playing major role in security of the state and they are doing well.


 He Brought Sanity In Customs Promotion-Compt Oramalugo

One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice


Comptroller Ben Oramalugo, Ph.D  is the Customs Area Controller(CAC) of Oyo/Osun Customs Command. In this brief chat, he gives insight on how the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) of today is different from that of yesterday under Col. Hameed Ali(rtd). This marks one year anniversary of CGC’s leadership in NCS.

 I want to appreciate his one year in office from revenue generation, trade facilitation and anti-smuggling activities.

His commitment to these areas translate to the massive seizures you see in commands and the media engagements. A lot of people don’t know that a key job of the Customs also is anti-smuggling activities which is embedded in the Act. In fact, go to section 4 of the Act, the functions of Customs are specified there. And so both at the ports and borders, Customs has been doing this very well.

On the area of revenue generation, recently the CGC went to the National Assembly to present customs matters and there he said what was made this quarter is far more than what was made in the corresponding period last year.  It means he is doing well in that area in spite of the difficulties in the economy. People are no more importing goods, as such the number of importers are dwindling every day. Yet ,he is able to make those impact.

On trade facilitation, see how much of engagement he is doing with stakeholders. Is either he visits or they will visit him. And he has been encouraging the Controllers to be in partnership with traditional rulers.  That explains why I am always with Oni of Ife and Olu of Ibadan as well as the traditional ruler of Modakeke. And once in a while we call all the stakeholders for meeting. All these are in the bid to facilitate trade.

On welfare, he has promised better welfare package to officers and men of Customs. He is assiduously working on this.  In fact, he has introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for retired officers. Before, it was only for serving officers.

On capacity building, officers are being trained both overseas and within Nigeria on weekly basis. Many officers are in Kuru, Jos, on training. That is a lot of money spent.

What has remained a major hallmark of his leadership is his open-door policy. Under Hameed Ali, a Controller could hardly access the CGC’s office. Unless on serious appointment. Only the PSO had that luxury of opportunity to see Ali at will. Now, Controllers can call the CGC, visit him to share ideas.

The CGC should be appreciated for his hands of fellowship to the media, traditional rulers across the geo-political zones of the country.

He has brought sanity in promotions in customs unlike the opaque system under Ali. In fact, he goes through the exams results himself and so nobody can manipulate the scores.

This is the benefit of having a system person. He knows all our problems, he grew through the ranks. He wants to make a good name for himself and the Service.


There Must Be A System That Punishes Offenders-Nwakoeji

One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice


Chief Emenike Kingsley Nwakoeji is the President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA) and a serious advocate of behavioral reorientation in the Nigeria Customs Service.

In this chat, he appraises one year anniversary of CGC Adewale Adeniyi in office. He lauds his efforts but notes areas of change. Feel his thoughts.  


What is your assessment of CGC’S one year in office?

Generally, one will give him a pass mark on collaboration.  He has done well here. He runs an open-door policy as it relate to the Association of Nigerian Licensed Clearing Agents(ANLCA) . This is to the extent that we can always reach him to get clarification on issues.

On collaboration, he has been in touch with all other agencies of the government that matters to their operation within and even outside the country.

On training too, he has done excellently well. Even clearing agents are benefiting from the training programme.  And the good thing is that he has been moving from location to location unlike before that it was concentrated in Lagos.

Talking about motivation for the officers, the officers are highly motivated now. Let it not look like I am praise-singing but this is the truth. Promotions are coming as at when due  for those that deserve.

On trade facilitation, the 24 hours cargo clearance does not depend solely on Customs. Assuming you have a cargo now to take out of the port tomorrow morning, you have to apply to NPA first for the authority to grant your truck access to the Port. So time delivery of cargo does not depend on customs. A lot of factors are responsible. You have the human factor and the multiple agencies at the port, both authorized and unauthorized.

On documentation, not all documents revolve around customs. You have terminal operators, shipping lines, among other agencies, are they ready to position the container for examination? And when they call for physical examination, are the servers working? So many factors are involved and therefore we cannot rate him personally or the agency on 24 hours cargo delivery.

Here on trade facilitation, we can talk about exchange rate fluctuation and its constant adjustments for customs purpose, this does not depend on Customs as well. The control of the exchange rate is not within Customs., It is the CBN. People think customs is the one.. The same way people see it is the same way customs see it. I can tell you how much efforts and input he has made as regards the exchange rate problem. We have seen him severally on it. We even made representation to the CBN governor, Minister of Finance and the presidency.

We wanted a steady exchange rate for planning purpose even if it is on quarterly basis..

I can tell  you that when compared with where  we are coming from, he has done very well.

Would you say that he introduced any innovation to help make cargo delivery seamless?

The Time Release Study, is new  and  just that it has not fully  started.  The human contact factor  will play up no doubt, but we all know that it is something that will benefit all of us. Att the end of the day, if an officer receives a document and he is able to record the time he received it, he should be able to explain why the document is staying longer in his care.

I think that where they need to work on is In the  area of  human interference in cargo delivery.

We noticed that it can take two days to clear cargo at PTML in Tin Can Ports but takes weeks to do same in other terminal still within Tin can ports. What could be responsible for this?

I don’t know why it should take this long to clear vehicle in Tin can Island

When the generation of x-factory prices are there  in the system, why will there be problem unless it is a case of wrong declaration.

Generally, if asked to score Customs’ performance on the scale of 100, what would you score them?

 I can only assess him based on what I saw before he came  but not the entire officers. Just like you have mentioned what obtains in PTML, so we still have some officers that need reorientation. There are some areas he needs to do something because a leader must make sure that those he is leading buy into his vision otherwise they will be pulling him back. There must be a system that punish offenders. So that others will sit up. A lot of bad eggs everywhere just like the Nigerian system. They need to be informed that there is a new Sheriff in town and that it is no more business as usual. Therefore, it is difficult for me to tell you  how good they are. Even in a command, the controller may be doing something other officers may be doing a different thing. But scoring him as a person from where we are coming from, some ACGs and DCGs could not even see their CGC’. But now they have access to meet their boss and discuss things. For this, I can tell you that he has done very well. But there are still room for improvement. Having done this much, I will advise he should look inwards and try to sort out the bad eggs that are messing up whatever works the good ones are making.  It got so bad in customs that even the senior officers could not get their boss even on intercom to discuss matters of importance or urgency. Before you know it you will need to pass through an army officer to see Oga.


I Score Him 95% -Ogunojemite

One Year Performance Appraisal: CGC Adeniyi Has No Choice


Otunba Frank Ogunojemite is the President of  Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics(APFFLON). In this chat, he posits that the CG of Customs has lived up to expectations.

 What is your assessment of the CGC’S one year in office?

To me, I think he has performed creditably, generally.  In specifics, I think that capacity building of officers and freight forwarders  got serious attention from him.

The CGC has become a good ambassador of the nation with the stakeholders’ engagement and collaboration with both local and international agencies.

He keeps an open-door policy  to all and I think that is commendable. At the association level, all that we sent to him as suggestion he has responded to them.

Agents had issues last year at Tin Can Island Port and he was the  first to come there.  So, I think he is doing well.

On trade facilitation, I think that is also improving. Most of the international conferences, he has been attending are on foreign direct investment and seamless trade. However, the Federal Government needs to create the enabling environment for trade to thrive through exchange rate stability and  fiscal policies.

How do you assess the time release study and 24 hours cargo clearance?

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is prepared but there are other micro factors beyond them. For instance, electricity and security. If there is no electricity and security for cargo what can customs do?  The chairman of the time release study is trying his best and engaging people.

On technology, they have also improved. You can see what they did with the Customs auction process.

On the scale of 100 per cent, how will you score him?

To be candid, I will give him 95 per cent. One of the things that defines good leadership is having an open-door policy. With this, people can have access to you and advise you appropriately from outside. This guarantees improvement on what has been obtainable. You can reach the CGC anytime and get response.


 He Reignited The Spirit Of CRM In Customs-Hajia Muse

Hajia Musa
Hajia Muse


Hajia Bola Muse is a former President of Women in Maritime Africa Nigeria Chapter. And also the Chief Executive Officer of Bomarah Investment Limited, a foremost logistics company. She is a professional with passion for best industry practices. In her x-ray of CG Adeniyi’s one in office,she says the CG brought back the glory of NCS.


 What is your assessment of the CGC’S one year in office? 

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate him on his focused leadership.  The one year anniversary is laudable. He has changed the face  of Nigeria Customs Service  and brought back the lost glory of the Service.  I am happy for him and the changes his remaining years in office will usher in for customs. So far, I will score him very high.

The training aspect of his feat, brought back the Customs engagement amongst stakeholders particularly, the agents and shippers.  He reignited the spirit of customer relationship management  in the system. I am not surprised, he is a seasoned officer who has good interpersonal communication skills. I am really delighted to identify with him.

Taking about his achievements and areas of focus, in bits, what do you say about the Time Release Study in relation to 24 hours cargo release? 

For me, I believe that Rome was not built in a day, and being humans, we expect perfection. It is achievable however, if we walk the talk. If we have all the stakeholders’  do their bit of briefs as obligated, we can achieve it. Customs is just one agencies among many others in the network of cargo delivery.

As for customs, gone are the era delay of documents, locking the documents inside the drawers. If the terminals have their system and equipment right, cargo release will be swift.

What about trade facilitation? 

Trade facilitation is one area I would like him to seriously work on now, especially the export aspect of it. We have many cross border traders whose goods are stuck at the border because of system glitches somewhere. The bureaucracy associated with these trade is mind-worrying. One then begins to wonder how the promises of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will come through. The documentation alone is discouraging.  This causes delay and defers achievements. We need to seriously work on this. A lot has to be done here especially training of officers in this regard as well as communication.

Do you have anything to say about technology under him?

Everything works together. I noticed that they are  developing capacity for application of new technology in customs in this era of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. I was at Abuja headquarters recently and saw a team of young customs officers gearing up for training. Some were actually on their desk working.  The agents need to be trained too, and he has actually begun the process. The first batch has gone. Gradually, we will all move from analogue to digital professionals.

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One comment

  1. CG, please let the agent breed.846 is a killer dose.Review and reinvent the policy.

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