By Adetokunbo FAKEYE
The Ag. Comptroller-General of Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has said the Service, under his leadership, will continue to prioritize community relations in border areas to re-smoothen the discharge of the Service's constitutional mandates.
The Ag. CGC, according to the Service spokesman, CSC Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, made this known on Tuesday, 29 August 2023, when he received members of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Customs and Excise, led by Senator Francis Ade Fadahunsi MFR, on a courtesy visit at the Service's Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.
The Senate had, on Wednesday, 19th July 2023, constituted an ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged incessant killings of people by Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, set up a 7-man ad-hoc Committee during plenary after Abdulaziz Yar’adua (APC, Katsina Central) moved a motion to study Customs Community relationship in Katsina axis, which the Senate President, Akpabio assigned Francis Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun Central), a retired Assistant Comptroller-General Customs to chair.
Speaking on the recent fact-finding mission by committee members to some border areas in the country, the Ag. CGC, Maiwada stated appreciated them for showing commitment to helping Customs enhance its policy of improving border relationships.
"We can't afford to antagonize any member of our host community. Because at the end of the day, what use is the facilitation of trade and the revenue we are generating if the communities are dead? So whatever we do, we do it in the interest of the community; that's the community that we're serving", the Customs boss said.
He added that the Nigeria Customs Service will soon implement a new pattern of community engagement with Nigerians through initiating strategic corporate social responsibility programmes, which, according to him, will prioritize their social stability, welfare and well-being in all ramifications.
Ag. CGC, who recalled how the Service has been sustaining a Secondary School in Idiroko for nearly three decades now, said, "In terms of being responsive to the needs of citizens, we will be requesting the kind support and understanding of the National Assembly to carry out such meaningful projects and reserve some slots of employment to the members of our host communities".
Adeniyi, had often urged community members to see customs operatives as fellow Nigerians carrying out national duty within their communities.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Customs and Excise, Senator Francis Ade Fadahunsi MFR, who submitted a progress report on their fact-finding visit to the CGC, assured him of the Senate's support success in resolving misunderstanding with border communities.
Senator Fadahunsi MFR, who commended the Acting Comptroller General's approach towards improving community relations also assured that his committee members would continue to maintain a cordial working relationship with the Service, which will pave the way to achieving its target.
The delegation of the committee who attended the meeting were Shuaib Salisu (Ogun Central), Kawu Sumaila (Kano South), Tony Nwoye (Anambra North), Suleiman Sadiq (Kwara North), Abdulaziz Yar’adua (Katsina Central) and Adeola Olamilekan (Ogun Central).