Iman Exchanges Leadership Baton With Babandede At Onne Customs Command

By Sylvanus OBASI, Port Harcourt

It was a grand occasion in Area 2 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service last week, as the Command held a sensational Handing and Taking over Parade in honour of the Out-going Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Baba Imam and the In-coming Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Babandede.

PLATFORM REPORTERS gathered that the Command had in attendance to witness the parade, various Commanders, Heads of Security Agencies and Stakeholders working in the Port Environment. 

Comptroller Baba Imam in his welfare address, appreciated God for his mercy and Love, while also appreciating the Controller General of Customs, BA Adeniyi mfr dsm fnipr psc (+), for the opportunity to serve as the Customs Area Controller of the Command.

He extended same appreciation to all Security Agencies and Stakeholders and attributed the successes recorded in the Command to the improved synergy, intelligence sharing and cooperation he enjoyed while working with them.

Speaking further, the Controller stated that in revenue, the Command set an unprecedented record in the history of the Command and Service by generating in a single day, over 22 Billion Naira. He also said in the first three months of year 2024 the Command generated over 162 Billion Naira which is more than the revenue generated from January to July (Seven months) in year 2023.

Comptroller Imam emphasised that Officers and Men of the Command have been trained with the view to bringing attitudinal change to enhance trade facilitation in the Command. He recounted some of the achievements made during his 15 months stay as the Area Controller which include construction of a 110 seating capacity Conference Room with modern facilities, creation of a Computer training centre with 50 computers to enhance capacity building related workshops and training in the Command. He said both facilities were open for use by both Customs Officers and Stakeholders who need them.

He continued by saying that Officers could not have made significant impact in trade facilitation if their homes were in disarray, hence he appreciated his wife who was the Chairperson, Customs Officers Wives Association, Onne Chapter and said in order to appreciate COWA for all they do, the Command was able to establish a COWA Office within the Customs House, refurbish a canteen in the Office and two additional canteens in the Customs Barracks. Adding that the Command also established two saloons in the barracks, for male and female from which the proceed goes to the Association.

On his own, the in-coming Area Controller Comptroller Mohammed Babandede promised to sustain the cordial relationship already established in the Command with a view to improving the synergy and that he will equally operate an open door policy.

He said “I will operate an open door policy just like the Out-going Area Controller and I employ all Officers and Men in the Command to give me their support as they continue their good work. This will help improve on the successes recorded with the aim to enhance revenue generation, value addition and suppression of smuggling”.

The atmosphere was clouded with mixed feelings of joy and sadness as both Officers, Stakeholders and invited guest poured out their Goodwill messages to the Out-going and In-coming Area Controllers.

Speaking on behalf of all the Security Agencies within the Port Environment, the Commandant Nigeria Navy Basic Training School, Commodore GJ Kashim said the Out-going Controller has instilled and improved synergy among the Security agencies which he commended and prayed for more success for him in his next duty post. He also employed the In-coming Controller to maintain the cordial relationship already established by his predecessor.

On behalf of the Container Terminals situated within the Port, the Managing Director, Onne Multipurpose Terminal, Mr Jim Steward said Comptroller Imam has made Container Terminal activities seamless with his intervention in reducing most of the bottlenecks they experienced in the Cargo clearing process. 

To further add to the goodwill messages, the Managing Directors of Bonded terminals operating within the Area 2 Command delegated Mr Kingsley Offor, to speak on their behalf. Mr Offor commended the Out-going Controller on trade facilitation which he stressed that Comptroller B Imam has made through a conducive working environment for Bonded terminal operators.

He also prayed for success and God’s favour towards him. To the In-coming Controller he prayed for God’s grace to function more than his predecessor.

On behalf of the various Customs Brokers operating with the Command, the Chairman of Association of Nigerian licensed Customs Agents, Mr Mike Ebeatu, commended the Out-going Controller and states that he has a listening ear and has an open door policy which he urged the In-coming Controller to embrace.

Lastly, on behalf of Officers and Men of Area 2 Command, the Deputy Comptroller Administration, Deputy Comptroller Chidi Nwokorie, pledged continuous support for the new Controller and promised that all hands must be on deck to make him succeed.

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