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Disquiet in Customs over ‘marginalisation’ in promotion exercise

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 Disquiet in Customs over marginalisation in promotion exercise

There are indications that crisis have started rocking the new promotion exercise conducted by the board of the Nigeria Customs Service as senior officers have complained of marginalisation.

The Nigeria Customs Service, earlier this month, said it had approved the promotion of 3,466 general duty and support staff officers.

In a statement announcing the promotion, the National Public Relations officer of the service, Timi Bomodi, said that the approval was done on March 29 during the board’s 54th regular meeting.

But reacting to this, a Superintendent of Customs, who did not want his name in print for the fear of being victimised, said that the board promoted juniors ahead of seniors without stipulating the criteria for the action.

“See, we have a very big problem in the service now. On Thursday, we got information that new entrants into the service were promoted a step ahead of their seniors. There was one step ahead for graduate intakes of 2009, 2011 and 2013 but we, the old officers, did not get such.

“Our juniors have now become our seniors without due criteria or process. We were employed in 2009. Though these people entered as graduates, which is good, some of us have gone to school even to the extent of obtaining Master’s degrees in the course of this work.”

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He said that some of them were also more experienced than the ones that were promoted.

“Just two weeks ago, promotion came out and these boys were elevated. On my own, I happen to be a superintendent, but my juniors who were deputy superintendents have become superintendents, thereby meeting up with us who are old officers.

“But last Thursday, the people they promoted two weeks ago climbed one step ahead of us. They are now automatically chief superintendents without due process.

“They are not more experienced than us because we have been in the service for donkey years before they were recruited. Secondly, if you are doing it based on the fact that they are graduates, we went to school with approval. They should retrace their steps because this will bring anarchy in the service,” he concluded.

Some of the other Customs officers, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said the promotion exercise was biased against some officers, adding that it was not fair to all.

Meanwhile, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, in a statement by the National President, Yerima Shettima, charged the President, Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd), to prevent national calamity which had started with the recruitment at the recent Customs promotion.

The statement read in part, “We still call on the relevant Federal Government agencies to swiftly move into action and ensure that the right thing is done and correct this anomaly.”

The group said that despite their plea to the service to reconsider its controversial plan to elevate a certain group of officers, it went ahead to implement the plan.

“The argument by the service that the set of officers employed between 1992 and 1994 were employed as junior officers cannot stand because most of them have improved their skills and capacity. At the point of promotion, the statutory requirement is not the qualification at the point of entry but rather qualification at the point of promotion/elevation.”

Reacting to this, the National Public Relations Officer, Timi Bomodi said, “Suffice it to say every organisation plans both for the present and the future. What seemed apparent for the future of NCS if nothing was going to be done about the present is the emergence of a yawning chasm in the horizon that most certainly would have left the Service in disarray. This decision was borne out of necessity. Its expediency when juxtaposed against its present impact would eventually vindicate the decision of NCSB. Indeed, many options were also considered within the framework of Public Service Regulations. Let’s just say this was the best of the lot.”

(PUNCH)

 

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