All serving officers in the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have been ordered to declare their assets, this is coming just as the service retired 29 senior officers yesterday in addition to five others whose voluntary retirements were announced on Thursday.
It was learnt that all officers from the first bar were directed to collect their asset declaration forms from their zonal offices with a view to determining the property they have illegally acquired. Sources close to the service said that any officer who made a false financial declaration would be detected through their bank verification numbers (BVNs) recently introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
More heads, a source said, will roll after the completion of the exercise.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NCS, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said in a statement yesterday that the retirement of 29 officers was part of the efforts of the new Comptroller-General (CG), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to re-position the service for greater efficiency and productivity. Ali was appointed through a press release issued by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, following the voluntary retirement of the immediate past CG, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi.
The three core mandates given to Ali by President Muhammmadu Buhari immediately he was appointed was to increase revenue generation, restructure Customs and reform the service.
A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Finance, a source said the retirement of the five DCGs, John Atte, Ibrahim Mera, Musa Tahir, Austin Nwosu and Akinade Adewuyi on Thursday, with another 29 senior officers yesterday, was part of the anti-corruption crusade of the new CG. The source said:
“Some of these officers have to go because of their super-rich status. Most of them and their immediate families live in questionable wealth that may still need to be investigated by the government.
“These are part of the stringent steps by the new Customs boss to sanitise and clean up the Service which has been plagued with strong allegations of corruption in the past.
“The CGC had vowed to embark on house cleansing in order to rid the service of corrupt officers and men.
“Although no organisation in Nigeria is corruption-free, the bad eggs in the service have tainted the rest as corrupt.”