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By Qosim Suleiman

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said on Monday that it is taking disciplinary action against one of its personnel for alleged N500,000 extortion.

The customs officer, Ibrahim Suleiman, was said to have extorted N500,000 from a car buyer named Muhammad Ahmad along Mokwa-Jebba Road in Niger State on 22 February.

In a statement posted on its verified Facebook Page, the customs noted that the Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, Dalha Chedi, handed over the accused officer to the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM) Customs Police Unit, Kaduna, on Monday.

Mr Chedi said he had directed the Customs Police Unit responsible for enforcing discipline in the service to conduct further interrogation.

He added that the complainant has been invited to assist in the investigation.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced by this handing over to unravel the facts surrounding the allegation. The outcome shall be made public to serve as a deterrent to others,” he was quoted as saying.

“We are deeply concerned and assure the general public that the matter will be treated with the deserved vigour, decisiveness and transparency.”

Bigger culprits free

But the NCS has kept mum and failed to discipline seven senior officials of the service who were indicted for allegedly receiving multi-billion naira bribes from smugglers in the country’s borders.

PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how some high-ranking officials of the service were arrested and detained for days when the EFCC traced about N12 billion proceeds of bribes from smugglers to them.

Six of the seven officials mentioned in the story operate in Zone B where the disciplined staffer, Mr Suleiman, also works.

The officers indicted include Ibrahim Jalo, Nurudeen Musa, Mohammed Rabiu, Ibrahim Hamisu, Madugu Saleh, Umar Tafarki and Kayode Kolade.

All of them are walking freely without prosecution by the EFCC or facing any disciplinary action from the customs service.

The EFCC traced N1.1 billion to Mr Jalo out of which he has refunded N250 million, with a promise to refund the balance.

The anti-graft agency also traced N126 million to Mr Jalo’s personal assistant, Umar Tafarki. He has also refunded N12 million.

Another officer involved in this saga is Mr Kolade, the Comptroller Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone C, Port Harcourt. The anti-graft agency traced about N9.5 billion to him. He has refunded N50 million and committed to refund N800 million within a short period.

Mr Musa, the Comptroller of Enforcement, Kaduna Zone, had N950 million traced to him. The anti-graft agency has recovered N583 million from him after he spent days in detention.

Mr Ibrahim was suspected to have garnered N120 million in bribes from smugglers between 2019 and 2023. He has refunded N13 million and promised to refund the rest.

Meanwhile, Messrs Saleh and Rabiu were suspected to have received N85 million and 84 million respectively from smugglers.

While Mr Saleh has refunded N13.5 million and promised to refund the rest, Mr Rabiu refunded N15 million to the anti-graft agency.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that at least 33 other officials of the service are under investigation by the EFCC.

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