From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Hameed Ali, said on Tuesday that the Service is working on opening sufficient space to train Customs officers from other African countries.
Ali made the disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday when he hosted the Director-General, Customs Administration of Central African Republic (CAR), Mr Fredrick Theodore Inamo, and his team.
According to Ali, the NCS, being a major regional player, is ready to deepen collaboration with various neighbours, especially now that Nigeria would require intelligence gathering to battle terrorism and other border challenges.
He assured the visiting delegation of NCS’ support in whichever area needed.
‘Nigeria has her own problems now and CAR has had its own. We have a plan to open the space to absorb officers from overseas to come here and train. We will let you know when the time is right. We will share ideas on insurgency and other criminal issues bordering on border issues,’ Ali said.
‘It’s good to share ideas to assist one another. As brothers, in terms of population and landmass, we are bigger than CAR. We will open our works to you so you can see how we do it. We don’t mind exchanging handshake to bring you to speed as regards the level you want to be with us. We can send our officers to train your people if need be.
‘In a nutshell, we have 15,800 staff. The Service is administered by seven departments. We have tariff and trade, finance administration and technical services, Human Resources Department, excise, free trade and industrial inspection, enforcement, investigation and inspection research and planning, legal department and finally TRADOC (training, promotion, exams and career-building in NCS. We have the Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada under TRADOC,’ Ali explained.
Responding, Customs DG of CAR, Fredrick Theodore Inamo, expressed gratitude to Ali for opening his gates for his team to learn.
‘We’re here to testify to the efficacy of your actual activities in Nigeria and Africa entirely. I’ve been in charge of Customs in the Central Africa Republic for about four years. “Hameed Ali is like a big brother to me. Our visit is work-related. To learn best practices. It’s normal for the younger brother to learn from his senior. We are a little organisation with 450 personnel. It’s a small administration,’ he stated.
In his paper presentation on NCS modernisation, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Saidu Galadima explained that the Service has evolved over the years from a manual process establishment to almost a paperless organisation.
He added that as of today, NCS connects with over 23 government agencies.