APPFLON derides Customs Boss for threatening officers
Says threat downplays present reality on ground
—–By Mcanthony Onuoha
The recent threat by the Controller General of Customs, Col.Hameed Ali Rtd.,to sanction any Officer, who absents from work,has been vehemently criticised by African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON).
In a circular with reference number NCS/ADM/MGT/015/S.21/C/VOL.15, issued to all the Commands by CGC Ali Hameed and signed by Assistant Controller General in charge of Headquarters, ACG Fatade AOB, which reads in part, “you are to be guided that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is an essential organ of Federal Government, which daily activities cannot be compromised for any reason”.
” You are to note that the Service is a paramilitary organization that carries out functions of security and also generates revenue for Government on daily basis, among other functions”. “Consequently, you are to be informed that all Officers and Men of the Service are expected to remain at their respective duty posts unfailingly. Failure to comply with the above directive shall attract severe disciplinary action in accordance with extant provisions”.
In a press briefing at the association’s Secretariat in lkeja on Friday,the 27th March 2020, the National President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite said that every country,, organisations and establishment are fully aware of the sad reality on ground. They should be guided, so as not to mess up the fight against the pandemic, especially here in Nigeria.
In his words, “It is not time to issue threat, rather, time to display great leadership skills. Instead of threatening Officers and Men of the Service to remain at their duty posts at this very perilous time, l think the CGC should encourage them to show more patriotism now. The threat is totally not needed because they are also human beings with flesh and blood, they also have families”.
He pointed out, “Everyone is afraid of the unknown. Most countries of the world have enforced total lockdown of which both Air and Seaports are not exempted. Safety of lives should be utmost priority of every Government, not asking citizens to put their lives at risk for revenue generation.”
Furthermore, Ogunojemite said that the best option would have been a total lockdown of every sector, except Health and Security, that only Officers manning very strategic positions ought to have been exempted from the ‘sit at home’ order.
He stressed, “We should not put emphasis on revenue generation for now, considering the ravaging effect of Covid-19 globally.”
He thereby urged the Customs Boss to make adequate provisions for safety of his Officers and Men.
He added, “There is need for adequate safety kits to make them stay safe and also save the lives of others from the global pandemic”.
“We should also consider the fact that these Officers are not super-humans, they are mortals who need to be protected and also adequately informed on how to stay safe”, Ogunojemite advised.