Improved image for Customs my concern, says Ali
The Controller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali, has said that his priority was to improve the image of the service.
He also advised Customs officers to be well dressed and decently behaved.
Ali spoke on Tuesday at the ongoing three-day workshop for Customs Public Relations Officers at the Customs Command and Staff College in Abuja.
Aside immigration officers who interact with travelers coming into Nigeria, Ali also described the Customs officer as one of the very first contact persons interacting with foreigners coming in and going out of the country.
Ali urged Customs spokespersons to equip themselves with skills necessary for effective crisis communication to the public and within their organisation.
“NCS under my leadership recognises the crucial function of Public Relations as a means of building mutual understanding between the service and stakeholders. It is therefore imperative that while carrying out the Presidential mandates of Restructuring, Reforms and Raise revenue, we actively engage the public who have a stake in what we do.
“I believe that the ability of any organisation to deliver on its mandates depends largely on how it is understood. PR can therefore be a tool for entrenching higher integrity among operatives and compliance from stakeholders” he said.
Ali also read the riot act to non-designated Customs officers who perform the duties of the Public Relations as he maintained that information from the service must be correct and professionally communicated to the public.
The CGC disclosed that he has become a preacher within the Customs, urging officers to do what is right in the course of duty.
He described Customs as being more complex than the army where he had worked for many years, adding that Customs is the best service for a truthful person as there is much latitude for discretionary powers.
National President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Rotimi Oladele, lauded Customs feat in entrenching professionalism in PR practice.
Oladele who also conferred a honorary fellowship of the institute on Ali, described the Customs Staff College as truly worldclass in and befitting for high standard training.