Tuesday, February 2, 2016 5:44 pm
Officers of the Nigerian Customs Service did not expect the order of assets declaration recently given to them by the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS Col. Ahmed Ali (rtd). As most of them have been reluctant to promptly comply, despite being given just two weeks to do so, the Code of Conduct Bureau has stepped in to educate the officers about what the process entails.
The process of educating the officers started last week Tuesday at the Customs Western Marine Command of the NCS , and the Customs Area Controller, Compt. Umar Yusuf says the programme is to ensure that officers and men of the Command understand what is expected of them towards making appropriate declarations. He declared that the process must be adhered to since it is a first step towards ensuring accountability and transparency which are embedded in the ‘change’ mantra being mouthed by government in the current dispensation.
“In line with the change mantra of this administration, this exercise will encourage transparency and make our officers and men to adhere to the motto of the service which is justice and honesty,” Comp. Yusuf noted. He emphasized that a new government is in place with an equally new Comptroller General who is bent on ensuring there is truly a change from the old order, prompting the invitation of the Director of the Code of Conduct Bureau and his team to put the Customs officers through regarding the assets declaration process.
Ezekiel Ola, the Lagos State Director of the Code Of Conduct Bureau and his team demonstrated to the command how to accurately declare their assets, which has ruled out the excuse of non-compliance based on complexities involved in the process by any officer.
The assets declaration directive is in compliance with the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act Cap B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Although the act provides for assets declaration by all bank employees, it also empowers the president to apply it to other categories of persons. According to the Comptroller General’s directive, section 12(1) of the act states that the provision of this act shall apply to the Comptroller General, Deputy Comptroller General, Assistant Comptroller General, Chief Collector, Principal Collector and other officers, staff or employee of the NCS as it applies to a chief executive or an employee of a bank.
The comptroller- general observed that over the years, officers have chosen not to comply. He noted that this time around, compliance is compulsory within the stipulated time for all officers.