Some officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have lamented the failure of the NCS to pay them the full special allowances promised them for border patrol duties. This is despite claims by the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Hameed Ali, that the agency had been generating more than N5bn daily since the borders were shut.
It was learnt that the NCS in August paid officers special allowances for border patrol duties based on their ranks. It was learnt that Assistant Superintendents of Customs were paid about N380, 000 while lower ranks received about half of the sum.
However, in September, the allowances were slashed by about 80 per cent, causing disaffection among the officers. A Customs officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We were informed in August that all land borders would be shut and we would need to work overtime and that we would receive special allowances.
“The allowances would cover feeding, transport and other expenses. It was also done so that we would not yield to temptations. As a PSC, I was paid about N380,000 while lower ranks were paid around N200,000. “The plan was that the borders would be shut for just one month for reasons best known to our CG, the closure was extended without a proper planning. As a result, our allowances were slashed because there’s no money. I received just about N70, 000 last month.” Another officer said he had to pay some of his men out of his own allowance.
He said if the authorities did not take action, the men might fall into temptation. The officer added, “Apart from customs, others involved in the operation include the Department of State Services, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Army and the police. However, the customs are the lead agency in this operation.
“There are over 100 illegal entry points around Idiroko alone. If Customs men do not give the needed direction to the others, the operation will fail. We call on the CG to make good his promise by paying us our allowances.” Spokesman for the NCS, Mr Jerry Attah, refused to comment on the matter.
However, a senior officer told The PUNCH that the officers would be paid their allowances. He said, “There was not enough money to pay their allowances, but we decided to give them something. When money is released, the officers on border duties would be paid their balance. Their pay was not slashed.” Punch
Pix: Customs CG, Hammed Ali