Newly appointed Controller of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Comptroller Auwal Muhammed has promised to sustain the tempo of revenue generation at the command.
Apapa Command is the flagship of the NCS and the highest revenue earner to the revenue pool of the Service. The command had posted an unprecedented N1.02trillion in 2022, the first of its kind in the history of the Service under the leadership of outgoing Controller, ACG Yusuf Malanta.
Muhammed who was recently redeployed from Onne command took over from ACG Malanta, who has been promoted to the Customs headquarters as Acting ACG in charge of ICT/Modernization.
Speaking at a handover ceremony at the command on Friday, Auwal said he is prepared for the task of leading the premier command just as he solicited the support and cooperation of officers to meet the set target for the command.
“We know how far we have gone at this Area Command; we know how the Service and the Federal Government is relying on the officers of this command to generate and collect revenue and also carry out effective anti-smuggling.
“I know the shoes I am stepping into, but I want to assure you that I am prepared for the job.
“I am coming from Onne Port, though smaller, but we have done our best there, and here, we are going to double and triple what we did at my last area Command.
“My first assignment is to make sure that I sustain the tempo, that is why in addition to remodeling of the command, we are going to introduce due process, this means doing your work without any blemish.
“I am going to corporate with you, encourage and legitimately support you. I am appealing to you not to relent on your efforts but to double and grant me the support you have given to my senior colleague and the sky will not be our limit but the starting point,” he said.
Auwal said he would ensure due diligence in cargo clearance as all containers leaving the port must be subjected to 100 % physical examination.
He also encouraged clearing agents to always make proper declarations in order to avoid delay.
“I want to urge the releasing and examination officers that, no package or containers should leave Apapa port without 100 percent examination”
“In making decisions on whether cargoes should be suspect or none suspect, the officers must exhibit all sense of responsibility, so that you don’t release an uncustoms cargo” he warned
On his part, ACG Malanta described his successor as an exemplary Customs officer nick-named ‘Due Diligence’ for his topnotch professionalism in Customs processes.
Yusuf, while highlighting the successes attained at the command within his 23 months stay urged the officers to give the same support to his successor.
Speaking, he said “Auwal is all about due process, so we are now in the era of due process. I know Compt Auwal can do it better, he has a much more midas touch”
“I urge the stakeholders to continue to be compliant, the era of cutting corners should stop, go straight and you will be there earlier than you think. Trade can only be predicted when you are compliant”
Meanwhile, ss part of efforts to reward exemplary conduct, Comptroller Malanta presented Certificates of Honour of the Service to the Public Relations Officer of the Command CSC Abubakar Usman, and other officers at the Apapa Command who had excelled in their work and enhanced revenue collection at the Command.
“The Service is rewarding those who have played a good role in ensuring that the Customs system is enhanced and compliance is strictly adhered to. However, the fact that your name isn’t called doesn’t mean that your work isn’t recognized. You should continue to blow your trumpets by yourself with exemplary conduct and professionalism,” Malanta said.
He noted that most of the recommendations for the officers rewarded came from the terminals where they were posted to work as he didn’t know some of these officers personally but their work distinguished them for recognition.
The awards were also extended to excellent officers of other sister agencies as officials from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) got awards.