Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has advocated for death sentence for any customs officer caught in the act of corrupt practices.
The customs boss made this clear while addressing officers and men of the Kano/Jigawa Command of the Service as part of his familiarization tour on Wednesday.
The comptroller said that though such penalty is not captured in law, but he would have advocated that any officer that steals government funds ‘should be shot’.
He said, “Many of us are in the service not because we want to serve but because of what we can make out of it.
“Anybody that goes contrary to the laws will be showed the way out and he will be disciplined accordingly.
“There will be no room for indiscipline in Customs anymore, you must be disciplined and that is why we are called para-military.
“If you are not disciplined, forget it you don’t belong to us because we stand on discipline.
“Henceforth, the laws are very clear, Section 47 is there and we shall apply that section without fear or favour and that is 10-year jail term and that is the maximum punishment.
“My prayer is that nobody should give me the room to apply that punishment.
“We are the gateway of the country and if you are corrupt that is the reflection and perception you are sending to the outside world about Nigeria that the Nigerians and Nigerian Government are Corrupt and this is what we are fighting.”
Ali warned officers to avoid the temptation of conniving with smugglers attempting to smuggle contra-band including arms and ammunition into the country.
He stressed that if trailers are not properly checked at the borders, they might be carrying very dangerous items into the country. These he said could include explosives, arms, ammunition and others.
Ali also said it would no longer be business as usual for those who merely want to wear the customs’ uniform and collect salary without undergoing training.
He asserted that those hiding under the protection of so-called godfathers and godmothers to avoid going for training or examination, will henceforth have it rough in the service.
The Comptroller General said he met so many scandals in the service, including servicemen who were rooted to a desk for up to ten years and have refused to be transferred.
While saying that it will no longer be business as usual, he said that no customs personnel will be able to stay on a post for more than the stipulated period as decided by the management for the interest of the service and the country at large.
The Custom boss charged officers to uphold the highest level of integrity and transparency saying that the era of indiscipline and corrupt practices is gone from the service.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari believes in the element of change; and if you don’t change, we will change you,” Ali said.