The last may not have been heard about Nigeria Customs Service controversial promotion examination, with eight personnel reportedly involved in road accidents and one senior officer believed to have also died from a ghastly auto crash, while returning to their various stations nationwide, after the conclusion of the exercise in Abuja, recently.
Maritime vanguard Report also reliably gathered that about 100 support staffs of the service drawn from its accounting, medical, marine, transport etc missed out in the exercise, as they were served with General Duty Office examination papers. These set of professional personnel are usually tested in their field of discipline and operation.
Recall that management of the NCS cancelled the exercise slated for October 2018 reportedly due to ‘administrative hitch’. Feelers hinted that the cancellation was not unconnected to loose ends in communication and agreement associated with outsourcing of the exercise to the Joint Admission Management Board, JAMB. Bewildered customs operatives complained that the service is the only one singled out for such exercise, as the military, police and other para military services conduct their promotion examination by themselves.
Those who spoke with our reporter in confidence accused the Customs Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali, retired, of executive rascality, noting that the CGC failed to release the full result for the 2017 exercise, which he cancelled and rescheduled, without information on a probe panel he allegedly set up to inquire into an alleged leakage, said to have warranted the cancellation and repeat exercise. The cancellation of the October 2018 promotion examination was considered one too many, without establishing any valid default reasons, beyond mere executive directive.
This is even as officers expressed pains at the high risks the jaundiced repeat exercise has exposed many, leading to the death of high ranking officer, an Assistant Comptroller, believed to be serving in Kaduna/Katsina Command. Aggrieved families and friends of those involved in road accidents wondered: “why must everybody go to Abuja, after all JAMB has offices nationwide. Since the CG does not trust in the integrity of the conduct of the examination at its Training School in Gwagwalada, he should have subsidized personnel running costs for the exercise. Now many seek cheap means of transportation and see what has happened now, these are officers collecting revenue for government already at great risk to their lives, to be further exposed to needless risks, this is insensitive and reckless“, noted an aggrieved family member of one of personnel involved in the said road accidents.
Escalating their pains, a middle level officer who also spoke on condition of anonymity took a jab at the present leadership style: “When people say the CGC has done so much and raised our motivation, I ask how? Are we getting better salary, was he able to do anything about it despite his famed closeness to President Buhari? It has been fight and fight all along, people use their integrity to raise standards, to build bridges and capacities, his own is to fight lawmakers, fight his management team, fight everybody to the extent he is the only good man in Customs.
“Now see where his integrity has taken us, it has thrown many officers into hospital beds, we have become Jambites, JAMB must line us up and make us write promotion examination. I don’t understand it anymore”.