Compt. Nnadi: Antecedents of a great performer


To say that Comptroller Dera Nnadi has over time established background of great performance in his chosen career is to state the obvious. Borne out of his obsession towards perfection, these antecedents, which have become a form of personal culture, cut across his various postings and assignments.

For instance, as a former Public Relations Officer both at the Zonal Headquarters, Lagos and Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Nnadi played crucial roles during the port concession programme in 2006 and Customs reforms that ushered in the Destination Inspection regime as well as the introduction of the Nigeria Common External Tariff and the e-Payment regime in Customs in 2008.

At this time, he was just a Deputy Superintendent of Customs and Superintendent of Customs respectively. His quest for personal development has seen him acquire trainings at personal cost not only in Customs operations and other supply chain –related activities but also in Public Relations, Finance and Business Management disciplines despite his background as a Science Technologist. This desire made him acquire a Master of Business Administration MBA at the University of Calabar.  He has attended several courses in Public Relations, Event & Crisis Management, Cross Border Crime Prevention, and Leadership & Management, Trade Facilitation Agreements, among several others.

Following his deployment from Apapa Command where he served as Public Relations Officer, he was posted to the Enforcement and later to the Strategic Research & Policy Department of the Service Headquarters Abuja where he held several the positions including head of Intellectual Property Right/Environment & One Stop Investment Centre.

He served as a member of the National Trade Facilitation Committee, a committee that worked towards Nigeria’s ratification of the World Trade Organisation-Trade Facilitation Agreement and is also effective as the committee for the smooth implementation of TFA in Nigeria.

The Comptroller Nnadi was also involved in the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS transit project as a member of the National Inter State Road Transit Scheme, which works towards ensuring adherence to the ECOWAS protocols on the Abidjan –Lagos Corridor (ALCO) and the Lagos – Kastina- Jibia (LAKJI) corridor.

In addition to these national assignments, Comptroller Nnadi served as a member of several other committees in the service, which include but not limited to the Service Strategic Plan and the review of the Customs & Excise Management Act CEMA.

From left: Comptroller Nnadi receives a plaque from Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State during a visit to the governor under his robust stakeholders’ engagement, which was one of the Priority Mandate Areas during his brief but eventful sojourn at Ogun 1 Customs Command.

Comptroller Nnadi maintains extensive contacts and networking among the various stakeholders, generating positive image for the Service. In doing so, he is widely respected for being firm and decisive on the position of the Service he projects without compromising courtesy.

To those that know him, he enjoys considerable confidence of the maritime industry stakeholders, and can be relied upon to activate Customs Business Dialogue Sessions as he is ever ready with opinions for the best interest of the industry whenever consulted. Little wonder industry stakeholders have christened him a Veritable Resource Person VRP.

In April 2017, he was deployed to the Tin Can Island Command of the Service as Deputy Comptroller in charge of Enforcement, where he carried out far-reaching reforms and gave a facelift to the office apartments physically and administratively.  This no doubt gave the officers and men a sense of belonging, which in turn boosted their morale. It is on record that the Command made several extra-ordinary seizures including three containers of arms.  Impressed by these extraordinary seizures, Comptroller General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ali, who flew from Abuja to brief the press on these seizures, announced incentives, including promotion for officers and men that facilitate such seizures.

Only late last year, the management promoted Dera Nnadi to the rank of a Comptroller and deployed him to take over at the Ogun 1 Command from his retiring former boss, Comptroller Peter Kolo, where he had been Deputy Comptroller in charge of Administration after he left Tin Can Island Command.

On assumption of duty, he left no one in doubt that it was time to work and therefore no room for rhetoric and like a notable success-driven administrator, he came up with a roadmap encapsulated under his desire to change the narrative of Ogun Command being referred to as war zone. He also left no one in doubt that the gateway command has the great potential to become not only a major regional trade hub for West and Central Africa region but also be an example of a well- coordinated border station.

Some of the five priority mandate arears he embarked upon include sustaining the Command status as the foremost anti-smuggling command in Zone A, uphold the Customs’ rules of engagement and integrity in the conduct of officers as well as all operations in the command. Others include to facilitate legitimate trade at the command when hopefully the borders are reopened and to pursue a robust stakeholders’ engagement across the command’s area of responsibility AOR.

In line with his ‘never say no’ philosophy, he believed that these ideals were achievable irrespective of myriads of daunting challenges including  the issues of multiple illegal and unproved routes, poor integrity of the supply chain along the border corridor, incessant attacks on personnel at the land borders and infrastructure deficit and difficult terrain of the vast border entry points among others which hamper operations at the command despite the various efforts being put in place to arrest the situations. He however praised the Officers who despite these were able to severally record monumental successes at the border.

Little wonder that the command in less than one month seized a total of 12 lorry loads of foreign parboiled rice and other contraband items valued at N172.9 million, as a result of the relaunch of its anti-smuggling campaign. The command also generated a total of N2.4million revenue mainly auction sale of seized petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit PMS and scrap metals. This is given that Federal Government’s directive on border closure is still in force and so no import and export activities on that trade corridor.

Other contrabands seized during the one-month period include 300 litres of vegetable oil packaged in 25-litre kegs, 20 units of used vehicles, which were means of conveyance, two pieces of motorcycles also used as means of conveyance, four bales of used clothing materials and 26 sacks of used shoes.

The command also seized were 637kg of Cannabis, 20, 775 litres of Premium Motor Spirit PMS loaded in 25-litre kegs, 810 cartons of frozen poultry and four sacks of used toys with a cumulative duty paid value DPV of N172.9million.

While briefing newsmen on these seizures, he said: “Gentlemen, I welcome you to Abeokuta for this press conference aimed at presenting our scorecard in Ogun 1 Command of Nigeria Customs Service in the last one month. You will recall that I assumed office as Customs Area Controller of the Command on October 18, 2021, exactly one month and six days today.

“Once again, let me use this opportunity to thank the Comptroller General of Customs Col Ibrahim Hammed Ali rtd. and the management of the service for considering me worthy of not only being promoted to the rank of Comptroller, but for being deployed as the Customs Area Controller of Ogun 1 Command.

“This is a conferment of responsibility that I will not take for granted. It is a call for continuous service for which my officers and men with the support of the stakeholders must accomplish to the best of our ability.

“It is in fulfilment of this promise that we are here to share with you the record of our activities in our core areas of revenue generation, anti-smuggling operation and stakeholders’ engagement especially in ensuring that we strike a balance between trade facilitation and application of control at a closed border since I assumed office as the Customs Area Controller from October 18, 2021 to 23 November, 2021.

His three-month sojourn at this command, just like any other beat he has been posted to was no doubt, eventful as he is currently on a one-year training at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies NIPSS, Jos, Plateau State. Expectedly, the culture of performance continues.

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