Here’s what you should know about the latest drama unfolding between the Nigeria Customs Service and Journalists
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) is suing the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) for N500 million. This move comes after several customs officials allegedly aided smugglers who work for them in assaulting Mr. Yomi Olomofe, a journalist, in June 2015. Olomofe, who is on the editorial board of Badagry Prime, a news magazine in the Customs Seme-Border Command, Badagry, was beaten into a coma and has yet to fully recover.
Jiti Ogunye, Olomofe’s lawyer, announced at a press conference in the Alausa Secretariat of the NUJ, that the lawsuit has been taken before a Federal High Court in Lagos. He is suing the Nigerian Customs Service on the basis of violating Olomofe’s fundamental human rights and requests that the court denounce all medical reports which state that the journalist has received treatment.
The National President of the NUJ, Waheed Odusile, vows that the organization will not let the matter go unattended. He also tasks media practitioners not to bow to intimidation and maintain the necessary ethics in their profession.
This incidence adds to an already existing buzz making rounds at the NCS after the Comptroller-General, Hameed Alli announced, over the weekend that all the senior officers in service publicly declare their assets within two weeks. The exercise comes as a result of officers’ negligence in doing so over the years and a ‘supposed mission’ to ensure that ill-gotten wealth is discouraged in the service.
The announcement reportedly caused a stir amongst the senior officers. Many within the customs office have suggested that the effort will prove ineffective because the officers will only declare what the authorities want to see. This further highlights the belief that corrupt practices within the NCS is nothing strange.
On January 8, officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided the home of the former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, under the suspicions of possession of large sums of money. He was also accused of abusing power by the Nigeria Customs Transparency Initiative. He is to be arrested at the airport by security agents, upon his return.