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Nigerians blast Customs over bribery, job racketeering

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Nigeria Customs Officials

Nigerians have lamented over the alleged high rate of corruption in the Nigeria Customs Service. 

The NCS became the centerpiece of backlash from Nigerians, who alleged that the agency had been taken over by corrupt personnel.

Noting that “their trademark is corruption,” Nigerians berated the service for allegedly engaging in nefarious activities such as bribery before clearing the consignments of importers and exporters.

Recounting a personal experience, an X user simply identified as Japheth stated that he witnessed firsthand the bribing of personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service by an undisclosed businessman who came for the clearing of his consignment.

According to Japheth, during a visit to the Customs office at Ikeja, Lagos State, “one file needed to be attended to, and when she (the NCS Officer) opened the file, she took an envelope filled with cash, put it in her drawer, signed and stamped, and passed it on to the next person.”

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He further alleged that each officer in the office, which totals five, received a share of the bribe.

Japheth’s statement reads, “The corruption in the customs is from top to bottom.

“Those officers at NACO in Ikeja are corrupt as hell; I witnessed it firsthand.

“One day, when I was still working in one ICP here, I went to deliver a mifi to a customs officer in NACO.

“The officer told me to wait outside for a while, which I did, but after some minutes, she told me to come in to set up the device for her, activate it, and connect to her laptop and phones.

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“When I got into her office, there were about five officers in the office with her.

“One file needed to be attended to; when she opened the file, she took an envelope filled with cash, put it in her drawer, signed and stamped it, and passed it on to the next person.

“Each person took an envelope filled with money before they signed. When they were done, the owner of the whole happily took his file and left, goods about to be cleared.”

Furthermore, he asserted that the NCS officers will not attend to a person’s file until the officers are bribed.

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“Your file will not be attended to till you do the needful,” Japheth stated.

Agu Nnaya stated that some customs officers make over N500,000 in bribes daily.

Nnaya said, “I worked in Apapa for a year, and I met someone who makes over half a million naira in bride a day. This was in 2015.”

Speaking on the alleged corruption in the service, Fisayo Soyombo stated that the rot in the agency is great to the point that the former Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, could not “clean up” despite his impeccable record.

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According to Soyombo, Ali, who was appointed by ex-president Muhammadu Buhari, conceded that “the scale of corruption in customs was beyond his possible cleansing.”

Accusing the current Customs boss, Comptroller Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, of corruption, Soyombo noted that Ali’s efforts to clean up the rot in the sector were undermined by a “corrupt Customs gang,” among whom is the present boss of the service.

Soyombo stated, “Ex-President Muhammadu Buhari bungled many of his appointments, but one he got spot-on was Hameed Ali’s as Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC).

“Hameed Ali genuinely wanted to clean up the mess that is Customs; I know this for a fact personally and from the few ‘drop-in-the-ocean’ honest men in Customs.

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“But when the corrupt Customs gang, among whom is the current Comptroller Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, saw that Ali was “too strict and stubborn,”  they started bypassing him.

“Ali left office conceding that the scale of corruption in customs was beyond his possible cleansing, but unaware that some of his most trusted hands betrayed him.

“Ali exited Customs in June 2023, oblivious to the multi-million-dollar smuggling deals struck under his nose by the enemies of this country, some of whom were his right-hand men.”

Speaking on the alleged corruption in the service, Daddy Bella alleged that getting employment in the service is juicy because of “the prospects of becoming rich via bribes.”

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He added that job seekers “spend millions to get these appointments.”

Daddy Bella stated, “Getting appointments into the Customs or Immigration Services is seen as juicy in Nigeria not because of the salaries and bonuses but because of the prospects of becoming rich via bribes. People spend millions to get these appointments and even postings to some departments.”

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