…..No he’s not, says spokesman
From Uche Usim, Abuja
Ndigbo Bu Otu Union (NBOU), a pro-Igbo pressure group, has called for the immediate sack of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, over what it called gross incompetence, ethnic marginalisation and lack of inclusive governance.
In a press statement signed by the group’s President General, Igwekala Ugomaduefula, NBOU urged the presidency that appointed him to man such a strategic agency without requisite knowledge, to quickly eject him and save the establishment from further deterioration.
Ugomaduefula said Ali’s management style has completely rubbished the federal character guidelines as he allegedly shut out the South-East geopolitical zone officers from key positions of the agency.
However, in a swift reaction to the allegation, the Spokesman of Customs, Joseph Attah, described his boss as a stickler to rules and regulations, adding that Ali will not preside over injustice in any form.
He said Customs had not officially released the promotion list, wondering where the group got the figures it was bandying about.
Ugomaduefula had stated that: “Deputy Comptroller Generals of Customs (DCGs) represent the geo-political zones. A DCG Ukaigwe, who retired since October last year, has up till today not been replaced and the South-East lacks an occupant for that slot due to the zone.
“So, the South-East as a geopolitical zone has no serving ACG now. We are calling on the Customs Service that DCG Ukigwe’s vacant position must be filled with an officer from the South East geo-political zone. Anything short of this will be unacceptable,” he stated.
On the marginalisation allegation, Ugomaduefula said, “in the recent promotions carried out this January, the South-East was heavily marginalised. A situation where some geo-political zones have over 26 controllers; for example, a certain state from the North, which already has three serving controllers had another four controllers promoted from the same state, making them seven controllers.
“While the South-East, which has only three serving controllers, only one was promoted out of four deputy controllers from the zone that went for the promotion exams. It is a heavy injustice, marginalisation and ethnic cleansing.
“In postings, not one controller from the South-East geopolitical zone is supervising the air border, sea border or land border. Even more disturbing is the fact that the criteria for promotion are unknown to anyone else but Col Ali. For instance, all 16 officers moved from assistant to deputy comptrollers are from just four out of 36 states. How could such a lopsided arrangement be defended?” he queried.
Further responding, Joseph Attah of the Customs said, “we have to wait till the promotion list is out. It is from there we will know those promoted and those not promoted and why they were not promoted. He mentioned Ukigwe but the man proceeded on his three months pre-retirement leave around October ending or thereabout. We are within the threshold and I know the CGC is a man of rules. He loves justice and hates injustice,” he said.