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Maritime Expert Drums Support for Customs Chief

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A Lagos base maritime expert, Prince Olusegun Ologbese has drummed support for the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Area Command, Comptroller Abubakar Bashir.

He maintained that the Customs Chief would not be in a position to actualise the statutory roles and responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the nation’s premier port, Apapa without the support and co-operation of stakeholders.

Speaking to Maritime Bits on the heels of the Bashir’s resumption of office and the convening of the maiden meeting with stakeholders, Ologbese said the CAC has what it takes to deliver on his mandate.

He however argued that if the stakeholders in the maritime industry, especially importers and licensed customs agents do not give him the needed support and co-operation, he will achieve little or nothing.

Ologbese who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ogbese Marine Services Limited said the CAC was not moving into an entirely new terrain as he had previously worked in the command as a Deputy Comptroller.

According to him, Bashir has the experience and exposure to step into the shoes of his predecessor as he has worked under him in the past in the same command. Again, I do not envisage any friction and the cold war that sometimes characterised the relationship between predecessors and successors when there is a change of guards in some Customs formations.

He disclosed that the cordial relationship between the Bashir and his successor was evident at the stakeholders meeting as they spoke glowing of each other.

“It is interesting to note that the new CAC is not actually new at the Apapa Area Command having served at its Post Audit Unit as Deputy Comptroller before he was promoted and transferred to Onne Port Command as the Customs Area Comptroller. Virtually everyone that spoke at the stakeholders meeting spoke well about him”, he said.

He expressed delight that the CAC has started work in earnest with an inspection visit to the bonded terminals under the watch of the NCS, Apapa Area Command.

According to the maritime expert, the CAC promised to improve on the strides made by his predecessor especially in the area of revenue generation, anti-smuggling, and trade facilitation. He promised to turn things around at Apapa Area Command. In fact, he said he will make it better than his former station, Onne Command.

Continuing, Ologbese who is also the life patron of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo/Ekiti Chapter stated that the CAC also used the meeting to solicit for the total compliance of port users, especially importers and licensed customs agents.

“The CAC made it very clear at the stakeholders meeting that his doors are open for genuine and serious complains at any time any port user feel aggrieved. In fact, his speech was very reassuring”, he said.

Ologbese also noted the humility of the CAC, pointing out that it takes a man that is humble and discipline to acknowledge the strides of his predecessor in spite of the fact that they were wearing the same rank.

Apapa Area Command has Nigeria’s busiest port, Apapa Quay under its watch and NCS High Command believes that if it meets its statutory roles and responsibilities, particularly in the area of revenue generation, the service will go a long way in meeting its annual revenue target.

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