In another swift move to stamp out corruption in the system, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Army have ordered their men to declare their assets with the Code of Conduct Bureau in compliance with the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act Cap B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ibrahim Ali (retd), who gave the directive to the men of customs including all Deputy Comptrollers-General, Zonal Coordinators and Customs Area Controllers said, all officers should comply with the directive within 14 days.
He said though the Act provides for asset declaration by all bank employees, it also empowers the president to extend its application to other categories of persons working in the public sector.
According to the circular, the Comptroller-General observed that many officers have not complied with the provisions of the Act over the years, stating that the 14-day ultimatum for compliance would be strictly enforced.
In the same vein, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai at a conference with principal staff officers and Directors serving at the Army Headquarters, directed all officers of the Nigerian Army who have not declared their assets to do so immediately.
He said the directive became necessary “considering the fact that all military officers are having presidential commission and are public servants, as well as subject to both civil and military laws.”
“In addition, given the current drive of the country for probity and accountability, the Nigerian Army should not only key in but should be one of the key drivers for such laudable project,”
Although, Wale Adeniyi, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has confirmed that officers were already declaring their assets as directed by the Comptroller-General, we urge the men of the customs to join the current government in its efforts to stamp out corruption in the system so that the nation could move forward.
Apart from the fact that the move will engender transparency in the military and expose bad eggs, who occasionally give the institution a bad name, it will help to spread the news of ‘CHANGE’ in all sectors of the economy.
While we salute the courage of the leadership of the armed forces and the customs for taking the bold step to instill discipline in their officers, we encourage others such as the Police, Immigration, Nigerian Airforce and Navy to emulate the customs and the army by ensuring that their officers declare their assets too without delay.
It is our belief that, by so doing, corrupt officers, most especially those that are funding insurgencies and ethnic violence in the country such as the Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants will be exposed within a short period of time.
It will also help officials of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to trace looted money by politicians and their cronies in the military.
After declaration and verification of those assets declared by the officers, the Code of Conduct Bureau should investigate how those officers that have more than what their salary could afford. They should be made to explain how they come about those assets without victimization and those found guilty should be punished according to the dictates of the law.
It should be acknowledged that corrupt officers are agents of destruction and destabilizers of democracy as they are always available for recruitment by the politicians for coup and disobedience to the rule of law. Therefore, they should be stripped of those assets by confiscating them in order to prevent them from using the same to the detriment of the society. However, those that could defend their assets and sources of their extra income should be left alone to enjoy the proceeds of their sweat.