The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday gave former Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi a clean bill of health as it declared him free, of the N1billion corruption charges filed against him, by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
It would be recalled that the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, similarly restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from prosecuting the former Comptroller-General, in a judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba following a suit instituted by Dikko.
Consequently, the current charges were dropped on Wednesday by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu on an application by the anti-graft agency, informing the court of its difficulties to arrest Dikko.
The court issued a bench warrant last March, for the arrest, because he failed to appear for his trial, specifically because the ICPC maintained that Dikko was not on admission in a London hospital, a claim genuinely contested by the defence counsel, Solomon Akuma.
The ICPC prosecuting counsel, E. A. Shogunle, had told the court that information available showed that the defendant left Nigeria on February 15 and arrived in London through Dubai on February 19.
He said the findings were contrary to the claim by Mr Akuma that Mr Dikko was on admission in a hospital in London as at February 17.
But at Wednesday’s hearing, according to the report, Mr Shogunle informed the court that they had been unable to apprehend Alhaji Dikko, despite the warrant issued against him.
Justice Ojukwu subsequently granted the application for the dismissal of charges.
Dikko’s travails notwithstanding, the administration of the former CGC till date, according to industry watchers, remains the most focused, the most hardworking and the most competent.
It would be recalled that Dikko and his management team, not only redesigned the Customs Service public image positively but also laid an 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 last year, the two sophisticated anti-smuggling ships which Dikko’s management team acquired, the Customs Pride and the Group of Nine 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 had since then, been effectively performing their jobs.