By Godwin Oritse
Federal Government has pproved the recruitment of five thousandÂ more men and officers into the Nigeria Customs Service just as the last batch of recruited personnel will end their training at the end of the year.
Disclosing this to Vanguard in Lagos recently, the Assistant Comptroller General in charge of training and staff development Alhaji Salisu Argungun said that the Federal Government gave the organisation approval to employ another 5,000 officers into the service as soon as the current customs trainees concludes their programme.
Speaking at a training programme for scanning service providers and a selected group of customs officer, Agrgungun stated that the service is very aggressive as far as training is concerned, adding that this level of training will continue until the organisation is satisfied with the crop of highly efficient officers
â€œWe have approval to employ more, but we have to see what we have done with the one we employed first, we have to train them well, after training them to our satisfaction, then we can think of employing moreâ€he added. He noted that the Nigeria Customs Service is lacking behind other African countries in terms of leadership even as Nigeria heads the Customs arm of the African Union
His words â€œNigeria chairs the AU Customs, definitely, we should set examples we should be far ahead of others not others goingÂ ahead of usâ€. Asked in what area Nigeria was lagging behind, Argungun said that the country was lagging behind in capacity building, adding that Nigeria is however catching upÂ On the newly employed officers, the Customs top brass stated that being given letter ofÂ employmentÂ is not a guarantee for automatic confirmation of employment, adding that any body who is not found to be fit will not be confirmed
â€œGetting a letter of employment is a not guarantee that you remain an officer, you have to perform, but if you are found wanting in terms of discipline, you will be shown to the way out .
â€œThey are already onÂ probation, it is not a permanent appointment, they have to spend two years on probation before their appointment can be confirmed â€œ. He however said that he could not ascertain when the next 5,000 officers will be recruited adding that the service will have to conclude the training of the current trainees. He urged the officers who were selected to apply themselves to the training that they are currently undergoing, noting that they are expected to go back various commands to teach otherÂ what they have learnt.
It would be recalled that over 5,600 Nigerians were recruited into the Nigeria Customs Service owing the dearth of professionals and aging officers in the system