FG shops for new Customs boss …rejects Dikko's request for extension of service

By The Citizen

IN efforts to sustain the ongoing reforms in Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Federal Government has turned down the application for extension of service by the current head of the agency, Abdullahi Dikko. It was gathered that the Comptroller General, CG, of Customs had been making frantic efforts to keep his job, but the Presidency resisted the move.

After months of speculations, it had now been confirmed that government is now in search of a replacement for the Customs Comptroller General.

Sources at the Ministry of Finance told Vanguard last week that the minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who is also the chairman of the board of Nigeria Customs Service, had been able to convince the Presidency of the need to find a replacement for Dikko.

Consequently, the Presidency is said to be weighing two options, including appointment of  an acting Comptroller General or that of a substantive head for the agency. According to a source, if the first option is finally endorsed, then the most senior Deputy Comptroller General,

Mr. John Atte, may step in as acting CG of Customs soon.

'He will serve for a few months, and a substantive CG will be appointed form the rank of either the DCGs or ACGs,' the source hinted last week.

Vanguard, however, leant that the government was more favourably disposed to appointing a substantive CG from the rank of ACGs.

'You remember that, apart from Atte,  other  DGCs were recently promoted, the thinking is that since Dikko has succeeded in introducing PAAR and having carried out his reforms, we need to allow a younger cadre to carry on,' he said.

But another source within the Ministry told Vanguard that he (Dikko) was to have been removed since his tenure expired last year, but pleaded to be allowed to complete the reform, even though he was working on the review of the Customs Bill.

'It is this Customs Bill thing that added to his problems,' the source said.

It was gathered that the Ministry had vowed that the incumbent CG will leave as soon as the succession option was settled.

When contacted, the head of public relations of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said the CG's application for the extension of service had been extended till middle of this month of February.

He explained that the extension for the application of service was only for two weeks, starting from the end of January and would lapse mid February. Vanguard