Supreme Court Orders Immediate Re-instatement of Sacked Customs Boss, Gusau

The Supreme Court has set aside the compulsory retirement of Comptroller Abdullahi Gusau from the service of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

The court, in a unanimous judgment of a five-man panel, ordered the immediate reinstatement of Comptroller Gusau, who was retired on December 21, 2009 by the NCS’ management allegedly on the directive of the Finance Minister.

The senior officer was sacked in 2009 after he exposed some dirty deals.

The judgement was read by Justice Ejembi Eko on April 7, in an appeal marked: SC/491/2014. He said that Gusau was wrongly retired, the relationship between Gusau and the NCS was with statutory flavour and not that of ordinary master-servant in which the servant holds his employment at the pleasure of the master.

Justice Eko upheld the July 11, 2014 judgment of the Court of Appeal in appeal marked: CA/A/248/2013, voiding Gusau’s premature retirement.

Other members of the panel included the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, Musa Dattijo Muhammad, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun and Sidi Dauda Bage.

NCS was said to have retired Gusau on the ground that he stayed more than 10 years in a rank. His mates then are now Deputy Comptrollers General (DCGs), while others have since retired as DCGs two years ago.

Gusau challenged his retirement at the Federal High Court in Abuja, but lost. He appealed to the Court of Appeal, which reversed his retirement and ordered his reinstatement.

The NCS, the Comptroller of Customs, the Minister of Finance and the NCS Board appealed to the Supreme Court, an appeal which the appex court dismissed, and ordered the man's reinstatement.

Gusau, who was elated about the judgement, stated that he was unceremoniously retired four days after he uncovered over N1.3 billion fraud via online audit through the Single Good Declaration (SGD) when he was Comptroller Post Clearance Audit (PCA) NCS HQ.

H said the fraud was uncovered in only 20 SGD while hundreds of SGD were generated daily. Gusau said he wrote a report on the alleged fraud on December 17th and was retired on December 21, 2009, just 5 days later.