Extortion and bribery: 2 custom officers suspended, 11 under investigation

23 senior officers of the Nigeria Customs service have been sanctioned for various offences in the first two months of 2015.

According to a release signed by Wale Adeniyi, the Public Relations Officer of the service, “12 of the officers were suspended from service pending the outcome of investigations while 11 others are currently facing investigative panels set up by the Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi.

Among those suspended are three Assistant Superintendent of Customs implicated in a case of extortion at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. The officers attached to the Currency Declaration desk at the airport got into trouble for allegedly extorting the sum of 13,000 USD during the outward clearance of a passenger on Emirates Airline flight. Two others, also Assistant Superintendent serving in Seme Command are suspended from Customs for alleged rape, an offence said to have been committed in Badagry area of Lagos.

Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi expressed regrets that the involvement of young officers recently recruited into the Service in various illegal acts is worrisome. He warned that the Service will not tolerate such officers, noting that the machinery for investigations in the service will be strengthened to punish erring officers.

Mid-level management officers serving in the Ports were also affected in the recent action as five Assistant Comptrollers of Customs serving in Tin Can Island Port are among those suspended from service for improper release of seizures.

Five others including a Deputy Comptroller serving in Apapa Port have appeared at the investigative panel for negligence and improper examination of containers. The outstanding six officers were made to appear before the same panel for offences ranges from hacking of passwords, falsification of academics certificates, negligence and general indiscipline.

The Comptroller General said the Service will go after officers operating illegal check points. He acknowledged persistent complaints he has received on some route particularly around Kogi, Ondo and Edo State. He assured motorist that special units of his office will conduct special surveillance operation to apprehend the culprits. He warned that, officers operating such illegal check points will be severely punished.

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