Social Media:Ali Riot Act To Officers

By Stephen Ubanna

Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has read the riot act to officers  who abuse  the social media to leak official information to the public. The warning was said to have been given to officers and men of the Service at their respective Commands as the Management embarks on  the social media sensitisation  programme nation-wide  by Dangladimma, a Deputy Comptroller General, DCG, in-charge of  Enforcement , Investigation and Inspection. ” Any officer caught  leaking official  document  to the publice, via Social media would be dealt with according  to laid down Customs rules and regulations”, the  DCG, had said.

The Customs  management, appear to have been embarrassed severally  by reports in the social media about the Service and which had not been traced to any officer.   Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller and the Customs Spokesman says it has become very alarming that that the Management could no longer sit by and watch the situation degenerate.  He cited an instance in which the social media platform, particular, Facebook,  had been used to mischievous pictures about the Service, and the need to put officers and men of the service on guide. The Customs Public Relations Officer  was said to have given an instance of an officer  who died in active  duties and the Family got to know about it through the Facebook and its implication to  the service.

Participants At The Social Media Sensitisation Programme At Seme

Perhaps, to contain the abuse of the Social media platform by officers and men of the Service to the disadvantage of the Service, he disclosed that the Dangladimma team had visited Apapa , Tincan-can Island, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A,  and  Seme Command to lunch the programme, which is expected to usher in a new era  in the Service.

 

Given an insider information,  the Customs spokesman explained that Dan-gladima, the DCG , represented the voice of the Management.  He confirmed the engagement of an Army Colonel, from the Defense Headquarters Intelligence Unit, Abuja, who is a Cyber Crime and security expert as one of the resource persons used to pass the message across to the officers.  He noted that officers have no reason to rush to the Social media to post information about the Service where there are official platforms to do so.

According to him, the only  official platforms of the Service are: Face book and verified Twitter  The  Face book code, he revealed is www.facebook/customsng while the twitter  code is twitter@CustomsNG. He assured officers that the pages are verified to talk to family members ,relations and friends to be careful scammers who might fake  the service social media platforms to deceive the public. An angry Attah warned the public that the Customs award contracts, auction vehicles or overtime cargoes  or give  employment  via socia mdia.

It would be recalled many Nigerian  had fallen victims to scammers who had advitised Customs Contracts, auctions and employment through the social media. Many had been duped thousands and millions of naira.

Prior to Customs  Management launching of the social media awareness for officers, the Management of the FOU, Zone A, may have known the pros and cons   the social media platform that it had  devised strategic measures to control it in the Command to avoid  authorised pictures about  the activities of the Command including arrest of VIP smugglers on the face book or whatsapp platform. Visitors to the Command including Journalists were  made to drop their mobile phones  with the Provost Marshalls at the gate and a tag given to them to be used in claiming it back.    Muhammed Uba Garba  , a former Comptroller  of the Command and now Comptroller Seme Command was said to have implemented to the later. Adamu Aliyu Mohammed , his  successorhas continued with the policy, which to a large extent had controlled information about the Command on the social media.

The Magazine learnt that there have been cases where officers have been detained in the Command  for gross indiscipline  which could make interesting news in the social media if it leaks out to the press but have been closely managed  by the Management.

One major issue that may have exposed the Command to ridicule if the unauthorised picture  had leaked was the drama at the Command warehouse between some Customs officers  over the alleged directive for the destruction of cartons seized poultry products. There was  total confusion at the warehouse as  some officers allegedly loaded the cartons of poultry products into a van  and forced their way out of the warehouse but were caught in the act. The intervention of  Mohammed, the Command, through a phone call made to him by an unknown officer at the  scene of the fracas saved the situation as the officers were detained.  The matter was said to have been handled internally  and never went beyond the Command premises.

Many believe that the Management could control the situation because of the strict  monitoring of officers on the use of the social media platform.

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