The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, has said that it is a misnomer for the Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), to be the Chairman of the Board of the Service.
Shittu disclosed told news men in Lagos recently that since the Customs was supervised by the Ministry of Finance, which had a minister and for the fact that the CG could not be greater and superior to the head of that ministry, he could not be the Chairman.
He explained that the Nigerian Police Service Commission was headed by a retired Inspector General of Police because whosoever would occupy that seat must have police background but pointed out that, it was because the Police did not have a Board that it had a Service Commission.
According to him, if the Customs had a Service Commission, it would be headed by a retired Customs CG but since it did not have such structure but operated under the Ministry of Finance there was no way the Ali can be the Chairman of the Board.
He commended the CG on its efforts to reform the Customs but stated that he should be ready to abide by the existing rules of the land as to the relevant person to head the Customs Board if he truly desired the development of the para-military Service.
Shittu added that it was a good development that the members of the National Assembly had also not minced words in letting the CG of Customs know that the Chairmanship of the Board of the Customs was the prerequisite of the Finance Minister.
He added that in as much as the legislature was saying it the way it should be, no single person could say that he was above the law or greater than Nigeria.
Shittu said that some people were even clamoring in some quarters that the Customs should be merged with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), adding if that became a reality, it meant that the Service would still be under the body supervising income generation, which was under the Ministry of Finance.
He however observed that Customs job did not only rest on revenue generation but also handled security of the nation, which was why it belonged to the Security Council while it was in charge of enforcement and prohibition.
He said that its fusion with the FIRS would then mean that it could only collect revenue on goods that came into the country legally, wondering on the workability of such an arrangement.