Thursday, May 30Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine

ALIYU SAIDU: I am a Customs Officer by Accident, My First love Remains the Army.

Comptroller Aliyu Galadima Saidu, who oversees the Onne Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has zero tolerance for indiscipline. While growing up he had this undying passion to join the army.” I love and admire the military because of the level of discipline and the way the command structure works”,he says .

He said his passion for the army was fueled by his grandfather who was nicknamed ” 8 Generals” and was Defence Minister in charge of the Army in the first republic.He said his grand father Galadinma, drated the likes of IBB and Late Gen Mamman Vatsa and 6 others all of whom became Generals in the Army.

But young Aliyu was to chicken out of the Nigeria Defence Academy on account of the rigorous training at the elite military Academy in Zaria . He again made another attempt to join the army after his graduation from the University, but this time through the short service course. But as fate would have it, Aliyu had his hope dashed a second time when reminded that as a graduate officer he would not rise beyond the rank of a Colonel as was the law for short service officers at the time.

That was how young Aliyu found himself grudgingly applying for a Customs Officer job in 1987 following the prompting of an uncle of his.Said he : ” For three months after i got the offer in 1988 , i refused to resume duty despite appeals by my father. At a point my father got so furious that he threatened to disown me if i didn’t take the job.That was how i found myself joining the Nigeria Customs Service”,he said.

Aliyu Saidu

Comptroller Aliyu Saidu who spoke exclusively with Shipping World in his office in Onne said he would not compromise on compliance with extant laws warned recalcitrant importers and their agents to stay away from Onne. ” We have profiled our clients and we have told those who have nothing to hide that they can take delivery of their consignments in 6 days.For those whose stock in trade is to circumvent laid down procedures, we have warned them to go elsewhere ‘,he told Shipping World. Commmenting on the recent arrests of five men for poaching seized containers of tramadol at Onne command, he said ” “”unknown to the suspects, my officers had briefed me about their plans.They promised to pay N12m but offered N1m as advance .I asked my officers to play along and that was how we got them into our net’, he said.

Compt Saidu is worried about the alarming rate of tramadol imports into Nigeria. He wants a concerted effort on the relevant agencies of government to open discussions with the importing countries and that stringent punitive measures should be put in place as a deterrent. Compt Aliyu Saidu was recently honoured in Lagos by Maritime Media Ltd as a Living LEGEND of Nigeria’s Maritime Industry in recognition of his outstanding contribution to development and growth of Nigeria’s Maritime Industry.