Retired Customs Officers move against ex-CG over benefits

Scores of retired Senior Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have threatened to take legal action against the Service Board if it proceeds with the payment of monetised benefits and other retirement perks to former Comptroller-General, Colonel Hameed Ali (retd).

The Officers made their position known in a letter they wrote to the Board, which was obtained by The Eagle Online.

The said the privileges enjoyed by the former CG violated extant regulations provided in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Number 131, Volume 109 of July 20, 2022 (published as Government Notice No 88) and cited as Nigeria Customs Service Conditions of Service Regulations 2022.

This was contained in a letter dated February 19, 2024, received by the office of the Minister, Federal Ministry of Finance on March 22, 2024, obtained by The Eagle Online on Saturday.

The letter partly read: “We, the underlisted retired senior officers of Nigeria Customs Service, on behalf of ourselves and all retired senior officers of the service write to you concerning the payment of monetized benefits and enjoyment of other privileges and perks in retirement by former Comptroller-General, Colonel Hameed Ali (Rtd).

“Colonel Hameed Ali by the provisions of both Nigeria Customs Service Acts and the Nigeria Customs Service Conditions of Service Regulations 2022, was and is never a Customs officer.

“He is and remains a Retired military officer/Politician posted to the custom service as a political appointee who was removed from customs after his tenure. He was not retired from Customs and could not have been after a tenure of only eight years.

“It is therefore in violation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No 131, Vol 109 of 20th July, 2022 (published as Government Notice No88) and cited as Nigeria Customs Service Conditions of Service Regulations 2022, to pay Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) monetized benefits and for him to enjoy retirement benefits in accordance with Schedules 1 and 2 to these Regulations as Retired Comptroller-General.”

Further in the letter, the concerned officers recalled a similar appointment, saying: “The Abacha military government appointed a serving Brigadier General, SOG Ango, to head the Customs Service as a Sole Administrator.

“Ango never underwent any basic training, was never commissioned as an officer of the Customs Service and never wore the Customs Uniform. At the end of his duty tour, General Ango returned to the military.

“Presently in retirement, Ango does not enjoy any benefits or entitlements of the office of a Comptroller-General or former head of the service, in retirement.

“It is therefore in respect of these violations that we request;

“An immediate cessation of payment of all monetized benefits and extensions of all privileges, perks and benefits of a Comptroller-General in retirement to Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd).

“Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) not to be recognised as a retired Comptroller-General of Customs but former Comptroller-General of Customs.

“An immediate return of ALL vehicles the former Comptroller-General has allocated to himself and taken away at departure.

“Failure to address these concerns and rectify the situation in line with the provisions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No 131, Vol 109 of 20th July, 2022, (Government Notice No88), within 30 days of receipt of this letter leaves us with no option than to initiate legal proceedings against Nigeria Customs Service Board for the enforcement of the provision of the Gazette.”

The letter was signed by four retired Deputy Controllers General and two retired Assistant Controllers General on behalf of others.

The DCGs who signed the letter were Dr. MD Jatau, J Nwagwu, IM Mera and AA Warikoru, while SI Dabai and BM Liman are the ACGs.

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