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Tinubu to Atiku: You’ve admitted you defrauded Nigeria as Customs officer

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the 2023 presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has berated his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, describing him as a law breaker who has admitted to defrauding the country as a Customs officer.

Recall that Atiku had in a television interview aired on Friday, addressed a lot of issues including a claim that he ran a commercial taxi service while serving as a staff of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Atiku worked in the NCS for 20 years, rising to become the deputy director, the second highest position in the service was then. He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics.

But Tinubu, while reacting to Atiku’s comments in a statement by his campaign organisation on Saturday, said it was most shocking Atiku admitted that he cheated the system for decades and engaged in gross misconduct as a government worker.

According to the former Lagos state governor, “Atiku revealed that he ran a commercial taxi service, claiming ‘there is no law stopping public officers from doing business in Nigeria. He punched harder, claiming there is no conflict of interest in doing so.

“In the interview, Alhaji Atiku exposed himself as a man who is not prepared for the job he is applying for and a man who can not be entrusted with our commonwealth. He was flippant in his response to important questions about his record of service and how he made money while serving in Customs.

“It was most shocking Atiku admitted that he cheated the system for decades and engaged in gross misconduct as a government worker. As a Customs officer at the Idi-Iroko border, Atiku revealed that he ran a commercial taxi service, claiming ‘there is no law stopping public officers from doing business in Nigeria’. He punched harder, claiming there is no conflict of interest in doing so.

“We found this to be untrue.

“Every officer in the civil service is expected to comply with code of conduct and service rules which bar civil and public servants from engaging in private business while in government employment to the detriment of the service he/she is employed to render to the public. The 1999 constitution further codifies this in Part I, Fifth Schedule, Section of 2 (b).

“It says a public officer shall not, except where he is not employed on full-time basis engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade. The rules however allow a public officer to engage in farming.

“We wonder which rule or which law Atiku was relying upon for his gross misconduct as a public officer. It is our considered view that Atiku gamed the system all through his career in public service, culminating in his founding of the Intel Logistics along with late Shehu Yar’Adua and some Italians, even while he was still in the employment of the Nigeria Customs Service.”

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