CAC Abiodun Makinde of the Idiroko Command of the NCS.
Story by Dili Utomi
The fact that the Idiroko border is one of those that were reopened earlier in the year and that there has also recently been a slew of seizures by the officers and men of the Idiroko Command of the Nigeria Customs Service gave a select few of journalists the impetus to ask for and got an interview with the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Abiodun Makinde.
So, it was a morning of clear blue sky, but with relatively low temperature that greeted us as we made our way through the somewhat busy town of Idiroko to have a date with the CAC.
The interview started with the youthful and lively Comptroller Makinde briskly answering the questions with the mien of a television personality.
The questions started with the CAC being asked how he feels to have been called one of the youngest DCs, his modest answer is that he thanks God for all His blessings. The CAC gave a brief history of his experience at the Idiroko Cammand which dates back to 1999 and said that he is working in a familiar terrain and that that has helped him in gauging the minds of stakeholders and also ultimately in carrying out effective duty.
Comptroller Makinde noted that Idiroko is the premier border Command and that he does not think that they are doing badly.
On the issue of the amount of seizures recorded recently, he said that it is normal because it was during the Salah celebration and naturally people want to eat rice, but that it is unfortunate that they don’t want to eat the Nigerian brand of rice. He noted that they can only do their possible best to curtail smuggling.
On the the issue of staff discipline, he said that one of the first things he told his men was that he would not want any kind of skirmish in the course of doing their duty and that luckily there has been relative calm within the areas under the Command.
CAC Makinde opined that there are healthy relationships between his Command and the sister agencies as he went on to say that he was supposed to be at a meeting with the police personnel in Abeokuta, but could unfortunately not attend for obvious reason. He noted that since the border has been opened that activities have really been picking up and that the set target and objectives will be hopefully met.
He made it clear that there are certain logistical challenges, but that these cannot be used as excuses for poor performance. In terms of import and export formalities, he said that the Command has been 100% compliant as they are there for trade facilitation.
He was asked what are his magic wands for performance, and he replied that making use of the available procedures helps in making the job go rather smoothly.
Comptroller Makinde stressing a point at interview session.
On the legacy that he would rather be remembered for, he said that the only thing that he wants to be remembered for is being a thoroughbred enforcement agent. On the approaching elections, he promised that he and his men would redouble their efforts towards making sure that no arms and ammunitions are smuggled into the country and to guard against the activities that would bring a breach of security. He advised his men to continue to be disciplined and follow the laid down procedures.
Comptroller Makinde also urged all stakeholders and busines partners to comply with all the extant law as they abhor illegitimate business at the Command, he tasked all to continue to uphold all the tenets of legitimate trade in other to continue to help the Nigerian economy grow.
At the end of the interview session, we were shown round the facility as we witnessed the thousands of bags of rice stacked up to the ceiling of the warehouse as well as other items seized in the course of the officers and men of the Command aggressively chasing down smugglers with their items of illegitimate trade.
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