Tension In Nigeria Customs Over Comptroller General, Abudullahi Inde Dikko’s Sit Tight Plan

abdullahi-inde-dikko (1)Some few weeks ago, the NCS was thrown into tension over alleged moves to remove the Nigerian Customs boss before his August 18 retirement date and there were also fears of likely mass retirement of senior officers should the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, earlier penciled down as Abdullahi’s successor be appointed.
Confidants in Abuja told National Infinity that as the Customs boss had a succession plan and was actually working towards installing ACG M. Mohammed, an officer from Yobe State as the next Comptroller General of Customs thereby continuing the tradition of the CG as birthright of the North.
Part of the machinery put in place to pave the way for his preferred candidate was the retirement of  three Assistant Comptroller Generals—Dr. Olusegun Agbaje, M. Jamo and E. O. Offem. Agbaje and Offem have since petitioned the Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister for Finance and Coordinating minster of the economy and Col. Sambo Dasuki, the National Security Adviser.
Offem, in his petition addressed to the NSA, noted that Abdullahi “actually planned to retire us to clear way for his choice of officers whom he wants to handover the service to for obvious reasons.”
As Dikko’s retirement days draw nearer, he was said to have suddenly dumped his preferred successor and engaged some forces in government, including ministers, who, at the behest of the supposedly outgoing CGC have formed a lobby group for Dikko touting his “enhanced performance in office” as the reason for the agitation for him to continue in office.
The lobby group is not limited to government circles alone, recently the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), in a press statement endorsed by Prince Obums Anene, head of Special Duties (NAGAFF) Headquarters, said that the civil service rule and tenureship of persons in the Public Sector cannot be changed because of an individual. Claiming that Dikko has neither attained the mandatory 35 years in service or the 60 year retirement age, the association said “except a bias mind and enemy of the present administration, it is an act of sabotage for anybody or group of persons to advise or lobby Mr. President to change a winning leader when he has not attained 35 years in service or 60 years of age”.
“Tenureship of civil Servants are 35 years in service and/or 60years of age unless if a person have served in a position of Director for 8 years.  Aside from these rules, it is only the President of the Federation that can determine those that can manage his delegated powers to act on his behalf”.  The most important thing is that it is only God that decides who wears the Crown.
“It is the view of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) that Interested parties should lobby Mr. President as an Angel of God on Earth to offer them the position of CGC without distracting government programmes and activities” the statement read.
In spite Ships and Ports had revealed that, a sources at the Presidency informed that Mohammed, who is presently one of the about a dozen Assistant Comptrollers-General in the Service, will be succeeding Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, who attained four years in office as Comptroller-General of Customs on Sunday, August 18, 2013, NAGAFF said, “At the moment, we have only one CGC who has been hoisting the Flag of Nigeria both at Local and International Arena”.
On the other side, a source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some forces are already pushing for non-renewal of Dikko’s tenure for second term in office”.
The initial plan was to give him the same treatment as the former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, who was removed a few days to the end of tenure. Although the plot failed, but the anti Dikko group were unrelenting in their effort claiming that the CGC office is not for the North alone and that the principle of Federal Character must come to play in the appointment of the next CGC.
To achualise their dream, the group is said to be routing for an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs from the Southeast replace Dikko. The anti Dikko group was said to have enlisted the support of the First Lady; Patience Jonathan.
“If the ACG from the southeast is given the slot, it will lead to mass retirement of customs officers from the North which has gained undue advantage in terms of promotions to the top echelon of the customs service and dominated appointments into office of the CGC.” Noted he source
The Dikko debacle has led to a split in the Federal Executive Council. Some Ministers and presidency officials want Dikko retained; while others are opposed to the CG’s continued stay in office.
Those canvassing for his removal are also citing Dikko’s opposition to a presidential order which has led to cold war between the CG and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the minister of Finance. The simmering feud  had centered on the renewal of the N40 billion Destination Inspection contract for four firms; Cotecna Destination Inspection Nigeria Limited, SGS, Global Scan, and Webb Fontaine engaged by the Federal Government.
The CG had opposed payment of N40billion annually to the four firms when officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service had been trained to conduct the same inspection.
The Customs was expected to be in charge of Destination Inspection (DI) from January this 2013.
At the end of the contract however, the Ministry of Finance, in a letter through its former Permanent Secretary, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan had extended the tenor of the deal by six months.
At the end of June, the CG was alleged to have insisted on the takeover but the contract of the four firms was again renewed for the umpteenth time.
While the pro Dikko elements are cautioning against the appointment of the ACG from the southeast as the next CG warning that “it may lead to ethnic cleansing as being witnessed in the Aviation Ministry headed by Stella Oduah, an Ibo from Anambra” the anti Dikko group insisted that “the CG of Customs is not a matter of inheritance by the North. If you look at it, most past CGs came from the North, there is also the Federal Character Principle in the Constitution”. So, whether the office goes to the Southwest or South-East is immaterial.
While the ding dong continued, some curious adverts purportedly placed by a group claiming to be friends of Dikko surfaced in some national newspapers.
Authors of the  adverts had, on August 13, about five days to the expiration of Dikko’s first term in office, congratulated the Customs’ boss over an alleged extension of his tenure in office by two years, a feat they attributed to his hard work.
The adverts read, “Congratulations to the great man for the two years extension in office approved by the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.”
“This extension attests to the stuff you are made of Ride on sir, you are a man amongst men, officer among officers.”
The adverts were published at a time, confidants maintained, President Goodluck Jonathan has not made any pronouncement on the matter.

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