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Customs: If Senator Fadahunsi is saying the truth, can the presidency act?

The discovery that the Comptroller General of Customs, Hamid Ali was budgeting N1.6 billion for the recruitment and training to outsourced body when the agency has yawning training facilities with manpower has continued to generate anger.

The latest to vent anger on the abuse of local content and Executive Order 5, is the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi.

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) had recently shortlisted over 160,000 candidates for a 3,200 opening and called them for a written test in parts of the country including Kogi State in the last few days.

However, in his remarks contained in a statement made available to media executives, Fadahunsi, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, accused the Comptroller General of the NCS, Hammed Ali, of being economical with the truth on the recruitment into the service and concluded the exercise should be reviewed.

Anger of many who had been following the controversy is anchored on why outsourcing the recruitment and training of Customs recruits when the Service has scattered training institutes across the federation which are being run with government money.

According to the Osun East Senator, “Ali lied to the nation and should not be trusted by anybody. The reason is that Customs has full-fledged training facilities. There is one in Ikeja, Lagos, with full accommodation and is fully automated.

“There is also another advanced training college in Karu, built to university standard for senior officers. It is headed by a Deputy Comptroller General, a well-trained officer, while the one in Ikeja is headed by a Comptroller.

“These facilities are recognised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and they are acknowledged as centres of excellence.

“Customs also has the best training school in Kano for junior officers. These schools are well staffed and they have excellent facilities. The junior staff training school can accommodate a lot and is headed by a Comptroller. The schools also have canteens that can cater for the feeding of these trainees.”

Fadahunsi also disclosed that all the training schools had their annual budgets for training, querying why Ali outsourced the recruitment and training.

“The question now is why anyone will rightly think of outsourcing the training of Customs officers if not because of greed.

“It is never heard of that the military and paramilitary organisations in any country outsourced their recruitment and training if not for greed and to find jobs for the boys.

“This was the same thing that led to the death of scores of young Nigerians when the former Minister for Interior outsourced the recruitment for the Nigerian Immigration Service.

“Nigerians should also remember that this so called recruitment exercise kicked off in April, 2019 and for reasons best known to Ali and his team, it dragged until now. In the course of this, families have lost millions of Naira through the activities of people who took advantage of job seekers.”

“To further confirm that the recruitment exercise is a ruse, applicants were receiving sms inviting them for the test barely an hour after the exams”