Comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), has called on the older generation of Customs officers to continue the nurturing of younger officers so that they can bequeath a more efficient service to the nation.

Col. Ali made the call in Abuja on Thursday at an event to mark the 2023 International Customs Day with the theme “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Profession Pride in Customs”.

The CG said the theme of this year’s edition of the programme is in line with efforts to place human capital and especially the new generation at the heart of the transformation process.

“Nurturing the next generation of professionals is vital for the continued success of the any organization,” Ali stated.

Part of activities to mark this year’s edition of the global Customs Day was recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions.

Presenting the awards to the ‘deserving’ staff, Col. Ali said by providing opportunities for professional development, fostering sense of ownership and accountability among employees, the service is promoting pride and professionalism among the employees.

According to him, one key aspect of this is promoting a culture of knowledge sharing and professional pride by fostering an environment where employees feel valued and encouraged to share their expertise.

“Another way to promote knowledge sharing is by creating opportunities for employees to collaborate and share their skills and experience. This could include team building activities, mentoring programmes, or cross functional projects teams,” he said.

The Customs head believes that by providing employees with opportunity to work together, they can learn from each other and develop a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

The Nigeria Customs had since 2017, launched what it calls a live changing command and staff training programmes under which over 600 young Customs officers have been trained.

Apart from building competencies in core Customs operations, the Customs CG said trainees from the command have been exposed to other core values of leadership, team work, emotional intelligence, and crisis management. “This soft powers are attributes that will prepare for the challenges of the next generation,” he stated.

Acting deputy comptroller of Customs
acting DCG strategic research and policy Adewale Adeniyi said the aim is to place human capital, and especially the new generation, at the heart of the transformation of Customs – an approach the World Customs Organisation (WCO) has been advocating for a number of years.

In 2023, under the slogan “Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-sharing and Professional Pride in Customs,” Customs is inviting members to look at how they support newly-recruited officers, facilitate the sharing of knowledge, and heighten the sense of pride in being part of the institution and of the global Customs community.

DCG Adeniyi said approach to learning must be rooted in the culture of the administration, holding true throughout the officers’ careers, a possibility he said requires not only dynamic intergenerational relationships, but also an outward-looking attitude, characterized by exchanges with the actors engaged in the movement of goods and passengers, as weil as with service providers and with academia.

Reading the message of the WCO to the audience, Adeniyi said Customs must avoid the loss of organizational memory, to ensure that mistakes are not repeated and experience is transmitted between departments and to the next generation.