Do you agree that customs is more corrupt under Col. Ali

Prince Segun Oduntan (Chairman, ANLCA at Tin Can)I am a stakeholders of about  30 years in this maritime industry, and I don't understand the parameters with which people measure corruption in the customs, I only know of what happens to be in my contact with customs, and so far, I cannot tell you that corruption under Col. Ali has increased or reduced, by my practical experience, I have a wonderful Area Controller at Tin Can Chapter who is ready to listen to you and take proactive actions, this is why we have had relative peace. So on the issue of corruption, I don't generalize, when I have a consignment and I pay my correct duty, an officer cannot ask me for bribe, you cannot do that with me because I know my onion, it's only those that have something to hide that give bribe and they go out to say customs is corrupt, it takes two to tangle.

 

Chief Osita Chukwu Patrick (Coordinator, Save Nigeria Importers)Corruption under Ali has not increased at all, rather it is reducing, even if the officers are indulging in it now, they are doing it with fear, but during the era of Dikko, they do not fear anything, the officer could even walk you out of his office, but now there is an element of fear. During Dikko's time, no officer was sacked, but during Ali, I know a lot of officers that have been sacked or demoted, there is a mass redeployment among both senior and junior officers, Ali is trying, even though he is not a customs officer he has done this. Those people saying that customs is corrupt, they are the ones that plead on behalf of the corrupt officers.

 

Nzeribe Ebere (Secretary, Tin Can Chapter, ANLCA)Corruption in Nigeria Customs Service is based on perception, personally I cannot say that corruption has increased under Col Hameed Ali (rtd) because we know that a lot of steps are being taken to curtail the extent of corruption in the system, corruption in Nigeria is not something you can eradicate overnight, it is through systematic approaches and policies that it can be curtailed to some extent. In a nutshell, I believe the corruption has rather reduced in the past couple of years when a lot of officers were hitherto carrying out their activities with impunity, but this time around, with the steps being taken by the current CGC, even if you want to take part in corruption you need to watch your back, in the past it was not like that.

 

Deacon Dike Kalu (Secretary, NAGAFF Tin Can Chapter)Corruption is endemic in our system even if we travel to Europe, when it comes to port operations, the loopholes are created by policy makers knowingly or unknowingly, and by the time you are involved in the business of the day, you discover these loopholes and you cannot run away from them. For example, in the case of alerts, after passing through valuation and assessment is given, by the time you punch your job, get started, at the releasing point, you would be told that you did not pay the correct value attached, at the end the day you end up spending the night at the port or two days to pay demurrage‎. We have series of alerts that contribute to the corruption.

 

Ayo Sulaiman (Spokesperson, ANLCA at PTML)The answer to this question is something we all know, the corruption was at a saturated level at some point, I don't think it has gone up again, because once it gets to saturation point it is supposed to come down, it seems to remain there for a while, in the Nigerian system itself there is a lot of corruption and the customs is part of it. But with the current CGC, I think he is trying his best to bring down the level of corruption in customs service, he cannot do it alone though, thank God that there is the whistle blower policy; everybody needs to be part of the fight. We cannot say corruption is not there, we are just praying for it to come down; every hand must be on deck to achieve this.

 

Ray Ugochukwu (Maritime Journalist)The corruption in the system is still there, and as long as Ali and his system continues to be in place, the corruption would continue to be there because there are certain things that breed corruption, and if you don't stem those things, corruption would continue. For example, if an officer is going on transfer and you gave him his letter of transfer and staff order, you are supposed to package the officer very well so that he would get a temporary accommodation even if it's in a hotel for three months before he gets a residence, but in a situation whereby you just give a staff order without any other thing, he would want to fend for himself and delve into corruption. How much is the salary of an average customs officer, do they have insurance scheme? Many of them die in action during smuggling activities. Why corruption is rising under Ali is because he is not a part of the system, he is a retired army officer, with all the threats he has issued, nobody is even ready to go and give him advise.‎

 

Obums Anene (Deputy President, Seaport, NAGAFF)Corruption is a bad thing in our society,  and as far as the port is concerned and the customs, I have not seen any increase in corruption because everybody is trying to work according to the rule for now, the level of compliance is increasing daily. Generally, we know that people are looking for what to eat at the port, you cannot rule that out, as an importer, they just want to maximise profit, but for the customs, everyone is on their toes especially with this change of government, it was not like this before.

 

Emmanuel Onyeme (Spokesperson, ANLCA at Tin Can)Corruption has increased in the customs service because right now, strange things are going on in the customs formations, the present CG said he was coming to tackle corruption, but I must tell you the truth that nothing has been done, rather it has increased. I see a lot of things at the port, even in the shipping companies and terminal operators, the corruption has increased, a vehicle that we used to receive for N300,000 before now is now at N430,000 to N450,000. During Dikko's regime, the customs was far better than now, although there was corruption then, but it was not as much as we had on ground today.

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