nigeria custom

Nigeria customs service and alleged promotion bias 

Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) is said to have reported low morale and declining job satisfaction, following allegations of marginalization and bias by the agency’s Board. 
What bias? The NSC had in April announced the promotion of 3,466 general duty and support staff officers after approval by the agency’s Board, but the promotion exercise subsequently stirred up dust amongst its ranks, as some senior officers accused the board of marginalization and favoritism in the exercise that saw junior officers promoted above their superior colleagues. The Customs Service is, however, not alone in such unsettling promotion exercises, according to reports. 

Where else does this happen? 

Reports say that the Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons), Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), are some of the agencies where this is happening. The aggrieved personnel, in a statement denouncing the NSC exercise, said those behind it were outgoing high-ranking officers who have a year left before retirement and did it to favour their children and relatives, whom they helped into the Service. “This action will breed bad blood and indiscipline in the system as the older officers might not submit to overnight superior officers”, the statement read. 

What was the criteria for the exercise? 

According to “The Punch”, the aggrieved personnel alleged that the promotion exercise was not based on merit or special performance, but on entry qualifications, and argued that it was not a factor for promotion in the public service rules. In addition, they faulted the Board for sidelining them, because though they were recruited with lesser qualifications, they have since returned to school to acquire more training – some to the level of a Master’s degree – with necessary approval. 
Section 7, subsection B of the Public Service Rules states that the only reason for the possible exemption of any officer in a promotion exercise is if the officer is under disciplinary action. The rules, in subsection C, added that “Promotion shall be made strictly on the basis of competitive merit from amongst all eligible candidates”.

With no mention of current disciplinary actions, the NSC has dismissed the allegations, saying the exercise was done through the relevant procedure and based on the needs of the service. Its spokesperson, Timi Bomadi, said the “decision was borne out of necessity. Its expediency”.

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