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Corruption: Did Customs Actually Sack 2000 Personnel?

Recent claim by the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that it has sacked over 2000 of its personnel in the past seven years over issues bothering on integrity has sparked controversy, with many saying the customs management is not only economical with the truth but seeking to mislead Nigerians for apparent political reasons.

Those who have called out the Customs Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) over the statement said while Ali has the right to play to the gallery as all Nigerian politicians and public office holders often do, nonetheless posit Ali’s claim is about the fattest lie to be churned out by the President Muhammadu Buhari government.

Col. Ali had during s the weekly ministerial briefing Thursday, disclosed that his management has laid off and prosecuted over 2,000 of its officers found to have compromised the system in the last seven years.

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The customs boss, who was speaking on the backdrop of claim by that the service has procured additional air-crafts to combat smuggling, acknowledged that the fight against smuggling has assumed a stiffer and more sophisticated dimension.

But his claim has generated dust as some observers say the customs boss purported lie ranks those from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, whose alleged proclivity in telling barefaced lies is believed to have since assumed a significant pillar of support in the nation’s socio-political governance.

Observers and industry analysts worry that with Col. Ali’s recent addition to the propaganda of performance and zero tolerance to corruption mantra of the Buhari government, amid worrying evidences to the contrary, has put a burden on the CGC’s perceived gentleman respectability.

Reactions in various interests online groups accused Ali of publicity stunt and fact twist; noting that the 2000 figure bandied by the customs helmsman consist of all disengaged officers and men, some of who retired, resigned and asked to go in the past seven years in line with Ali’s submission, but which he presented either poorly or wrongly.

A discussant said, “The CG lied, 90 percent of them resigned, retired or were retired. I don’t believe customs have sacked up to 500 for fraud in the past 7 years. Hameed likes playing to the gallery. He doesn’t know the nitty-gritty of the customs job because he’s completely analogue.”

Another said, “We all know that Customs did not dismiss up to 200 officers in the last 7 years. It’s just an empty propaganda to justify Buhari administration’s empty claim of stamping out corruption.”

The controversy got to an interesting pitch when a discussant who sought to understand the CGC’s position, expressed confusion saying: “But I thought there should be a certain age one gets to, and he will shun anything lies?”

Yet another offered a likely explanation that suggested that lying or those with traits of lies are not deterred by age or exposure. “Lying has no age limit especially, when it comes from elders in authority and political circles. I think the man wants some praises from his friend/master in order to justify his seven years of the good, the bad and the ugly administration.”

To stave off the negative impact this claim may have on his sterling image, Ali has been asked to publish the names of the 2000 officers he claimed to have shown the way out over corrupt practices; to put a seal of authority on his claim.

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