The immediate past Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Comptroller-General Grace Banke Adeyemo, was removed from the position because she allegedly, in pursuit of a puerile tribal agenda, attempted to create a parallel body and have the existing Customs Consultative Committee (CCC) scrapped, MARITIME MATTERS can authoritatively report.
The plot Adeyemo sought to execute, according to unimpeachable sources, had allegedly been scripted by certain elements in the 60-year-old Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), with two chieftains (names with-held), who are also members of the two-year-old CCC, allegedly serving as ideal agents provocateurs.
It was learnt that, as soon as Adeyemo was appointed and assumed position as NCS Zone ‘A’ Coordinator in January 2014, the ANLCA plot against the CCC thickened and the duo swung into action to execute a festering irredentist agenda.
It was gathered that the duo and their cohorts, who are Yoruba, had peddled to Adeyemo, who is of the same ethnic stock, the line that the CCC, as constituted presently, was allegedly dominated by the Igbo and must, therefore, be scrapped and a new one created so that Yoruba can call the shots in the emergent body.
Sources informed MARITIME MATTERS that the position of the alleged irredentists was that the NCS Zone ‘A’ Command, which has its headquarters at Yaba, Lagos, South-West Nigeria, oversees some of the Service’s major formations, must necessarily, in their skewed thinking, have all industry bodies, including the CCC, being dominated by the Yoruba.
Notably, the NCS Zone ‘A’ Headquarters houses the CCC Secretariat. The CCC comprises the Customs, Customs agents, importers, and the Press. At any given time, the incumbent Zonal Coordinator serves as the CCC Chairman.
Obviously playing out their group’s irredentist agenda, the ANLCA duo in the CCC have been laggard concerning the Committee’s affairs, except for keeping appearances whenever there are interactive sessions with the Customs top brass.
It was learnt that Adeyemo eagerly bought into the plot by the ANLCA sponsors to cripple the existing CCC, and create another in its stead.
In due course, it was gathered, Adeyemo had written Comptroller-General of Customs Dikko Inde Abdullahi to recommend that the existing CCC be scrapped and another established.
Impeccable sources explained that as soon as it reached him and he absorbed its disturbing contents, Adeyemo’s letter filled the Customs chief with angst and he promptly summoned a meeting with the Deputy Comptroller-Generals and a decision was taken to withdraw her from her post as Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, as soon as possible.
Similarly, the Comptroller-General and Deputy Comptroller-Generals had also, with dispatch, resolved that Assistant Comptroller-General Victor Ositadinma Gbemudu, who was lately Assistant Comptroller-General, Excises, Free Trade Zones and Industrial Incentives at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), be returned to his former duty post as Zonal Coordinator at the Zone ‘A’ Headquarters.
Adeyemo, who had earlier succeeded Gbemudu as Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’ about four months ago, handed over to him Friday. Earlier last week, Adeyemo had received handover notes to her new post as Assistant Comptroller-General, Tariff and Trade, Customs Headquarters, Abuja.
The new posting for Adeyemo, it was gathered, merely provided her soft-landing, bearing in mind that the Customs Management found her culpable of acts contrary to her commission as an NCS officer and capable of bringing the Service to disrepute in seeking the dissolution of the existing CCC and the creation of a new body in its stead, based on vacuous grounds.
The CCC, according to sources, is rated very highly by the Customs Management for having, within a relatively short period of existence, turned out to be credible partner for facilitating trade.
It was learnt that the Customs Management had also not been thrilled that Zone ‘A’ did not fare well under Adeyemo’s watch, with the Customs chief and his top lieutenants, including Gbemudu, routinely jetting into Lagos from Abuja to help in sorting out matters to do with the nascent Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
Adeyemo’s redeployment could also be linked to the fact that, under her watch, the NCS Zone ‘A’, which routinely generates about 70 per cent of the Service’s total revenue target at any given period, failed to meet its target, reflecting in the huge drop in the first quarter revenue collection of the NCS as it collected a mere N77.9billion as against N400billion it was expected to collect in the first three months of the year.
The N77.9billion collected by the NCS January to March, 2014, represents 19.5 per cent of the Service’s projected revenue for the period; an amount less than half of the N191.3billion the Service collected during the comparative quarter the previous year.
The new appointments for Adeyemo and Gbemudu were part of the redeployment exercise that affected a total of eight Assistant Comptroller-Generals and 22 Comptrollers to fresh duty posts across the country.
At Tariff and Trade, Adeyemo succeeded Assistant Comptroller-General Adesina Odumbaku, who in turn succeeded Assistant Comptroller-General Austen Warikoru at Human Resources Management.
Warikoru is now Assistant Comptroller-General, Strategic Research and Policy, succeeding A. A. Mohammed, who moved to Zone ‘C’, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, as Zonal Coordinator.
Mohammed succeeded Assistant Comptroller-General Dan Ugo, who was lately in charge of Zone ‘C’, and has since been moved to Enforcement.
Assistant Comptroller-General Ade Dosunmu had been moved from Enforcement to head Zone ‘B’, taking over from the erstwhile Zonal Coordinator, Assistant Comptroller-General S. R. Alu, who has moved to Excise, Free Trade Zones and Industrial Incentives.
The personnel shake-up also affected Comptroller Tunji Aremu, who was lately Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the PTML Command, and has been succeeded by Comptroller Adegoke Folorunsho, moving on to the Customs Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Others affected are: Comptroller B. Abubakar, who was moved from Post-Clearance Audit to Customs Headquarters; Comptroller D. S. Gambo from Lagos Industrial Command to Zone ‘B’ Headquarters, Kaduna, North-West Nigeria; Comptroller A. G. Yerima from Kaduna/Katsina Command to Customs Training College, Kano, North-West Nigeria.
While Deputy Comptrollers T. Y. Akor, S. Ahmed, Y. O Atoyebi, M. A. Olonilua, E. I. Onwuyali, S. T. Ayah, I. Buba, Z. A. Abdullahi, and S. Usman have all been moved from Investigation and Inspection Departmenttoms to various locations across the country, the quartet of I. Ahmed, B. Akande, E. Amaka and P. Okala had been to other locations from m Cross Rivers/Akwa Ibom Command, South-South Nigeria.