The Senator representing Osun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Francis Fadahunsi has denied harbouring any animosity against the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, contrary to insinuations by faceless individuals who say they are defending the Customs CG.
It would be recalled that the Senator, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, had in his new year message, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the Customs CG and service chiefs in the country so as to allow for a new and fresh thinking in the services that help move the nation forward.
Fadahunsi had reasoned that there was a need to have a thorough bred professional to take over the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) because the current CG has limited knowledge when it comes to trade facilitation, which is core duty of the service.
The Senator, in a statement of Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Sam Segun-Progress, “The distinguished Senator will want to put it on record that he has no grouse with the comptroller General as demonstrated by him during the budget defence when he offered advice that can assist the service”.
Fadahunsi further maintained that his love for the nation and the customs service motivates him at all time, adding that “My call for a new Comptroller General of Customs is because I know as a retired customs officer that there is no how a soldier can understand the workings of Customs like a trained Customs officer will do.
“Or is it possible for a Customs officer to be made the Chief of Army Staff and perform better than an officer who rose through the ranks?”
The deputy chairman of Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, also reiterated his claim that the revenue in 2014 remains higher in value than that which have been recorded in the last four years, calling on the president to see the need to allow those with cognate experience and expertise to run the service.
The Senator also queried where rice that flooded the country in December came from, adding that the land borders account for minimal trade and that the major smuggling routes remains the water ways.
This, according to him is alien to CG Ali, accounting for the euphoria over land border closure
“What happens on the sea, from Badagry to Alaba, from Onne and Port Harcourt, from the water ways in Ikorodu to Osborne? A lot of activities are ongoing. What about the Cameroon water ways and what is coming in from Baba Mutum or Port Harcourt?
“These routes still account for huge quantity of smugglings and they are known to the officers and men of the Customs Service but can their judgment be applauded and accepted?”
Fadahunsi further called President Buhari to use his good offices to search and appoint a thorough bred officer who can encourage officers and men of the service to put in better performance.
According to him, this will encourage officers who have already grown cold feet because labouring for the top of the service no longer pays, since anyone can become the Comptroller General without any knowledge of the service.
The lawmaker also condemned the recruitment process that has taken almost a year despite the huge amount to be paid a consultant
“Why hire a consultant to recruit officers and men? Will the Nigeria Army contract out its recruitment? This is why am begging Mr. President to have mercy on the service in the interest of the nation that is losing a lot by virtue of the limited knowledge of the CG”, the Senator said.