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“I may need to take water”, last words of customs officer who died during NASS meeting

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“I may need to take water”, last words of customs officer who died during NASS meeting

As Deputy Comptroller Essien Etop Andrew, responsible for Finance, Administration, and Technical Services at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), entered the halls of the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday, little did he know it would be his final moments in parliament.

Andrew had diligently guided a group of senior customs officers to the House of Representatives for an investigative session with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

During the hearing, Andrew and his team presented crucial information regarding revenue remittances by the Service, unaware of the tragic turn events would take before the day’s end.

“These levies as stated earlier is listed as federation account levies and it is the responsibility of the office of the Accountant general to say this money for sharing in FAAC, but for whatever reason that this money, which the Nigeria Customs Service has remitted into the appropriate account was not sent to the federation account, is what the service cannot give explanation,” he had said.

Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Bamidele Salam, had interjected by asking: “So your position is that this money was actually sent to the account provided by the Accountant-General and that the obligation of now taking it to the federation account is out of your own purview.”

Responding, the deceased had said, “Yes. The same thing applies for 2017 and 2017 can be seen in the next page. If you look at 2016, it encompasses other levies. Sir, I may need to take water.”

“Go ahead,” Bamidele had said, adding, “Do you need tea.? Can somebody please attend to him?”

Shortly after, he collapsed and was rushed to the House of Representatives clinic, where he died.

READ ALSO: Senior customs officer dies at National Assembly during interrogation

In a statement issued by Abdullahi Maiwada, Public Relations Officer of Customs, the Service expressed shock over the death.

“It is with profound sadness and a deep sense of loss that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) announces the passing of Deputy Comptroller Etop Andrew Essien, who served as the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Revenue in the Account Unit of the service. Deputy Comptroller Essien, who was in charge of the reconciliation of revenue for the service, passed away on the 25th of June 2024 while making presentation before the National Assembly House Committee on Public Accounts.

“During his presentation, approximately three minutes in, Deputy Comptroller Essien requested water and showed signs of discomfort. Despite immediate efforts to assist him, he unfortunately passed away.

“Deputy Comptroller Essien was born on the 16th of November 1967 and joined the Nigeria Customs Service on the 27th of November 1989 with over three decades of service to our nation. Hailing from Nsit-Ubium in Akwa Ibom State, he was known for his diligence and exceptional service record in the Accounts Unit. His role as the DC Revenue was pivotal in ensuring the accurate reconciliation of revenue, which he performed with utmost precision and dedication.

“The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, On behalf of the entire officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, extends heartfelt condolences to the family of Deputy Comptroller Essien.

“The loss of such a dedicated and valued team member is deeply felt across the Service. We are committed to supporting and assisting his family and colleagues as they navigate this difficult period,” the statement added.

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