Col. Ali, Customs Boss Clinic Commissioning Stirs Emotion
…As Aremu Extols Swomen, Charges Others On Posterity
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The official commissioning of the Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) Staff Clinic, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday, drew emotions as the Coordinator Zone A, Assistant Comptroller General, Modepu Aremu commended the KLT outgoing Area Controller, Comptroller Hammi Swomen for having the foresight and sense of gratitude to appreciate the CGC by erecting an edifice in his name.
ACG Aremu while charging area controllers to always think out of the box and immortalize worthy leaders waxed philosophical as she notes that Swomen’s good works and presence of mind to appreciate sterling leadership of superior cadre also logically helps in opening the way for self elevation into higher positions.
The Zonal Coordinator who commissioned the Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) Staff Clinic said, “What Comptroller Swomen has done at this Command is indeed remarkable. He will always be remembered for good. Officers should think out of the box, Swomen is not just leaving behind a Staff Clinic at KLT, he is also leaving this Command as Acting ACG.
“I am calling on other Area Controllers to emulate his example, anywhere you are posted as controller, leave something good behind so that you can be remembered for good in future.”
In his welcome address, Swomen now Acting ACG explained that he embarked on the construction of the clinic in view of the facts that there is no nearby facility to take personnel during emergencies. He said the Clinic will serve the need of officers and men, and also for Nigerians within the community.
Meanwhile, the Command generated a total of N44.36billion revenue in the year ended, 2022, representing 21% increase over and above the figure of N36.69billion collected in 2021. Swomen explained that under his watch, the Command made a total of nine (9) seizures of 29x40ft and 03x20ft containers of assorted items within the period under review with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N737,578,939.00.
The Command also under his watch increased the number of Terminals by three (3), namely, Bestaf, Tenzik and Sundial Terminals, designed for both imports and exports.
ACG Aremu being conducted for a guided introduction to officers
The outgoing KLT Customs boss lamented that the Command has no building of its own which has created drawbacks and the inability to function the way it would otherwise wish to, noting however that the headquarters is on top of the matter and considering measures to reverse the situation.
This is even as he also hinted that management is working to improve the status of the command as a mother seaport area by revitalizing some of its moribund terminals and allocating cargo vessels to them to increase the command’s operational volume.
He further explained that other challenges experienced by the command include the perennial traffic gridlock along the axis, general economic downturn, which affected the revenue performance of the command.
His words: “The Command does not have its own premises and is a tenant of the NPA. This has restricted our ability to put in place all structures required in a Customs Command. When I reported in December, 2020 I came with a mandate to plug revenue leakages, enforce extant Import and Export Regulations and facilitate trade for all international trade actors operating in the Command.
“The year 2022 proved to be a challenging year for the Nigerian economy, with attendant adverse effects for Revenue Collection by the Service generally and the Command in particular.
“The year witnessed a sharp decline in the value of the National Currency against other international currencies. Other negative effects resulted from the Russian Ukraine War which affected countries around the world with increased inflation and prices of goods and services.
“The traffic congestion, dilapidated sections and ongoing road construction on the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway posed a big challenge to transfer of containers from the Mother Ports to KLT” adding:
“The Command relied almost exclusively on transfer by barge.”
Swomen’s other achievements include the establishment of a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) and One-Stop-Shop for the Command comprising strategic units to address issues whenever they arise.
He also created a harmonious working relationship between the Command and other Government/Security Agencies and Stakeholders, especially through regular engagements and sharing of ideas.