History again repeated itself on Monday, September 18 2023, when two former Public Relations Officers (PROs) of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptrollers Dera Nnadi and Timi Bomodi met and exchanged batons at the Seme Customs Area Command as Controllers of Area Commands (CACs).
Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, had last week approved the redeployment of Comptroller Nnadi from Seme to Tin Can Island Command, while Comptroller Bomodi was redeployed from Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Command to Seme, as new some officers were appointed and redeployed across the country.
Addressing journalists and stakeholders during the handover ceremony at the Seme Border Command, Nnadi recalled how he also handed over to Bomodi in 2009 as PRO at Apapa Command following his redeployment to the Customs Headquarters in Abuja by former CGC, the late Abdullahi Inde Dikko.
He also noted that through a dint of hard work and professionalism, Bomodi rose to become the National PRO of the service and expressed confidence that he was leaving the command in a good hand, who would build on his successes at Seme as the new Comptroller.
Describing his accomplishments as ‘modest milestones’ at the command, he recalled that the command was still grappling with the effects of the over three-year border closure, which negatively affected every segment of the joint border management including revenue generation.
He, however, commended the CGC, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi for his support, which had helped to change the narrative judging by the current revenue profile and seizures made since January 23, 2023, when he assumed duty at the command.
“Upon assumption of duty on January 23, 2023, I pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade, while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan Lagos Corridor ALCO in line with the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of goods and persons.
“I also promised along with officers and men to encourage compliant traders along the corridor bearing in mind the challenges of the JBP as one that is still recovering from the effects of the border closure. With the support and cooperation of the officers and men of the command and other stakeholders, we have kept faith with that as shown by the revenue and seizures.
Nnadi disclosed that of a revenue target of N1.96 billion for 2023, the command has already collected a total of N2.8 billion as of Friday, July 15, 2023, amounting to a 6.4 percent increase in excess of the projected revenue.
Speaking, Bomodi, who commended the outgoing CAC, promised to build on the successes already achieved, adding that he would embark on a tour of the operational areas of the command and the border communities to have first-hand information on the issues on ground to enhance a robust community relationship.
He recalled his encounter and experience at the Seme Border Command, saying: “I was posted to this command about 30 years ago as a young officer fresh from the training school and I was here for four years. I can still remember the anxiety and high expectations as trainees, which we found different from the field job.
“With the support and cooperation of everyone, the officers and men as well as other sister agencies and indeed the trading community, we will build on the successes already made because a tree cannot make a forest. I will run an open-door policy so that everybody will be involved. So, it is not going to be a one man’s job and as such, all hands must be on deck.
The Krake Seme Border, being one of the busiest borders in West Africa, is crucial and strategic to the sub-region, especially in terms of flow of trade. So, if Seme fails, the entire sub-region fails and if it succeeds, the entire sub-region succeeds and so we must do everything to ensure that it succeeds, it is not going to be business as usual,” he said.
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