TRAVAILS OF A RETIRED CUSTOMS OFFICER

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To say there are no bad eggs in a particular Nigerian agency is disputable. Over the years, undercover journalists have been sweeping out the rot some of the personnel in our agencies thought they had successfully or perfectly swept under the carpet. Such were the ones the award-winning investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo did and is doing. He had unraveled the rot in our police, prison, hospital, etc. And interestingly, the agencies in question had readjusted in a way or the other.

Mr Olorunoje Lateef Adewale is a ‘retired officer’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, who was served a retirement letter before his supposed year of retirement. Olorunoje had been forced to retire under the pretext of medical grounds, which he denied, saying he was fit as at the time and even now.

He joined the Nigeria Customs on August 1, 1979 with service No. 24053 and was supposed to retire on January 6, 2020 grounds of age and August 1, 2014 by year of service. Instead, he was served a retirement letter on December 20, 2011. Meanwhile, he was confirmed fit by the hospitals he visited few days after. So, why the retirement on medical grounds when he was fit? Is the Customs now a medical center?

The retirement letter reads: “At its 41st Regular Meeting held on 19th December, 2011, the Nigeria Customs Service Board, NCSB, approved that you be and you are hereby retired from Service on Medical Grounds with effect from Monday, 19th December, 2011.

“The Board has further directed that I express its appreciation to you for the services you have rendered to the nation over the years, and to wish you success in your future endeavours.

“You are to hand over all Government property in your possession including (uniforms, accoutrements, identity card, etc) to your immediate superior before you proceed on your retirement.”

The retirement letter with reference NCSB/ABJ/AP&D/94/S.4/VOL.XXXVIII/79 dated 20, December 2011 was signed by Mohammed M., NCSB Secretary.

Surprisingly, however, on 6th March, 2012, he received transfer Staff Order to Ogun State Customs Command, duly signed by ACG Mohammed M. This was the same person who signed his retirement letter on the 19th of December, 2011. That showed there was discrepancy and foul play somewhere. He would go to the Nigeria Customs to tender what he saw and there would be no one to hear him out.

As if that was not enough, NCS has not given Mr Olorunoje the copy of his medical report which is a prerequisite by the Pension Fund Administration, (PFA) to access his retirement’s savings. He had gone to the NCS several times without any result. Had he had dubious records with NCS in his 32 years in service, one would have concluded that it was the reason why he is being tormented. But no, he didn’t.

Therefore, this is an appeal to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali, a man that doesn’t condone corruption, to look into Mr Olorunoje Lateef Adewale’s case so that he could have access to his hard-earned money. A retired officer like Olorunoje, who justly served Nigeria for 32 years shouldn’t be rewarded with the denial to his retirement benefits.

Aremu Lukman Umor,