…Elated Stakeholders recount Dikko’s achievements in Lagos***
Abuja Federal High Court, on Monday, restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting the former Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba delivered the judgment on the suit instituted by Dikko, stating that the non-prosecution agreement entered into between the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the plaintiff was binding on EFCC.
The agreement between Dikko and the AGF was based on the return of N1.5 billion proceeds of alleged crimes the ex-NCS boss committed while in office to the coffers of Federal Government.
Justice Dimgba held that by virtue of the provisions of Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF, being the chief law officer of the federation, was imbued with wide powers and discretion on prosecution matters.
The judge said that the claim by the anti-graft agency that it acted on an anonymous petition to commence its investigations “cannot override the discretionary powers conferred on the Attorney-Genreral of the Federation by virtue of Section 174 of the Constitution.”
Justice Dimgba also noted that since Malami did not oppose the suit, the AGF had subscribed to Dikko’s case.
Reflecting on the conflicting positions of the AGF and the EFCC on the Dikko’s case, the judge admonished government agencies joined as defendants in the suit on the need to speak with one voice.
“There is a need for government to speak with one voice and not in different tunes that appear to be discordant,” he remarked.
Dikko was the plaintiff, while the AGF, the Department of State Services (DSS), the EFCC and its chairman were the defendants in the suit.
Ironically, hardly was the EFCC restrained than a cross section of maritime stakeholders go in celebration of the judgment, even as some audibly wondered what giant toes Dikko stepped on, to warrant the nation of Government agencies speaking or acting in discordant tunes.
“He must have stepped on giant toes. The kind of toes that doesn’t forgive easily”, an industry watcher said, describing Dikko as inarguably, the most focused and the most competent Customs Comptroller General (CGC) that Nigeria had ever produced.
It would be recalled that Dikko and his management team, not only redesigned the Customs Service public image positively, but also laid indelible foundation upon which the Service has since, seemingly been building upon.
Dikko’s administration developed from the scratches to midwife what is today, the best Customs Regional Training Centre in the West and Central African subregion.
Dikko, at a time the nation’s exchange rate to a Dollar was about N150, built several quarters for serving Customs officers and men, in a determined vision to ensure that the idea of officers renting houses in town/destinations of postings, with its attendant consequences on avoidable Compromise on jobs was ended.
He also ensured that officers who were posted on redeployment collected their allowances before embarking on their new assignments; just as those called for meetings were officially settled as and when due.
Dikko’s management team initiated the Preshipment Arrival Reports (PARs), a remarkable ingenuity which Ghana later came to Nigeria to imbibe, modified and now improved upon.
Only this year, the two sophisticated anti-smuggling ships which Dikko’s management team acquired, the Customs Pride and the Group of Nine had just been commissioned, with one handed over to the Western Marine Command in Lagos and the other to Port Harcourt axis, to fight and tackle smugglers who peddle illicit trades on the vast nation’s waters. The boats were commissioned by the current CGC, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd). and are effectively performing their jobs.