Lagos – The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) on Thursday said the appointment of Retired Col. Hammed Ali as the new Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) should be regarded as a necessity.
The association, n a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos by its Founder, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, said officers should be made to see the appointment of an `outsider’ to head the service as an exception, `a child of necessity,’ that would not be the practice.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to douse the fear of the officers and men of the NCS over the appointment.
According to Aniebonam, as very critical stakeholders in maritime trade and transportation, it is obvious that the emergence of a retired military officer as the comptroller-general of customs, calls for concern and THE due attention of the stakeholders.
“We have carefully read and studied Section 5 of the Nigerian Constitution and the law establishing the composition of the Board of the NCS; we did not find any contravention on the part of the President.
“At the moment, we have perceived the appointment of Hameed Ali as being a child of necessity, rather than being professional.
“We in NAGAFF are primarily concerned with the law, professionalism and merit, rather than mudslinging.
“It is our firm belief that the appointment of Ali was done in consonance with the laws of the land,‘’ he said.
According to him, the opinion and position of NAGAFF and its members with regard to the appointment of the new CGC is that the President must have good reasons to do so.
“Patriotism demands that we trust and believe the judgment of the President because he will not do anything that will retard the progress of Nigeria, as he strives to restore the nation’s past glory,’’ Aniebonam said.
The freight forwarder said members of NAGAFF had been following with keen interest the progress being made by the President in his efforts to redefine the Nigerian state in the oil and gas sector, the military, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Aniebonam said government was redefining the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and most recently, the change of guard at the Nigeria Customs Service.
“We are all aware that the President is emphatic over three critical pursuits to better the lots of Nigerians.
“These include the anti-corruption war; providing employment for the unemployed and ensuring the security of the Nigerian state.
“This is without prejudice to the common needs of the greater number of Nigerians, like the provision of water, shelter, general infrastructure and public good.
“`It is no longer news that the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the President of Nigeria is an act of God and a measure of earned respect and integrity.
“It is also a fact that the President is very much aware of the expectations of the greater number of Nigerians who have suffered for so long due to extreme cases of human rights abuses occasioned by corruption at all levels of government and public life,’’ Aniebonam said.
He was optimistic that the new comptroller-general of customs would deploy his wealth of experience and administrative astuteness in reassuring the rank and file of the customs that he had come as a friend and colleague.
“Whatever will become of his story at the end of his tenure will depend on his attitude to the officers and men he meets on ground.
“In short, he needs the cooperation of those people to succeed and we believe he wants to succeed.
“In another vein, without passing any judgment on the NCS, we think the officers and men of the service need to re-evaluate themselves, look inward to identify their problems,’’ he added. (NAN)