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The Nigeria Export Processing Authority (NEPZA) and the Nigeria Economic Zones Association (NEZA) have formally led the free trade zones’ community as well as serving and ex-senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to bid Deputy Comptroller-General of customs, Mrs Kathleen Chinwe Ekekezie tumultuous farewell after a 35-year meritorious service.

The event which took place on Saturday at the international Restaurant and Dinner Hall of the Eko Hotel, Lagos was graced by over 400 personalities cutting across the business community, customs, MDAs, families and friends.

Ekekezie, who retired as Deputy Comptroller General in-charge of Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives, was described by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA as a “quintessential achiever.’’

Adesugba, also, Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, said that Ekekezie had combined a number of good virtues to attain the rank of the Deputy Comptroller-General in a heavily competitive and male dominated environment.

The NEPZA boss, explained that Ekekezie was a brilliant officer and administrator whose professional interventions in the management of the affairs of the free trade zones remained palpable and indelible.

“Ekekezie, was a thoroughbred public officer with a proven record of uncommon brilliance and achievements. She has got proven leadership and team building skills.

“She was focused, performance-driven, insightful, innovative, analytical and did develop numerous problem-solving skills over these years. She indeed, brought all these good traits to assist us at the NEPZA board and in the management of the entire free trade zones in Nigeria.

“On behalf of the Authority, management team and staff, I wish her the most peaceful retirement life.’’ Adesugba said.

On his part, Elder Toyin Elegbede, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Economic Zones Association (NEZA) said that retired DCG Ekekezie was loved across all pedestals and that the love, respect and honour for her among the free trade stakeholders remained even more pronounced.

“The association and NEPZA have put this together to celebrate the peaceful retirement of this infrequent Nigerian’’, Elegbede said.

He also said that: “this rare retired customs chief was simply audacious and an exemplary administrator whose footprints on the premises of all the free trade zones shall not be easily erased.’’

A cross section of Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers of free zones and other personalities also took turns to deliver their goodwill messages.

In her remarks, the celebrant acknowledged the show of love and honour toward her, adding that all the proclaimed achievements she made while in service were ordered by God.

The Achi, Oji-River Enugu State born retired customs chief, further said that it was her commitment to the fear of God that was instrumental for the customs collecting its first `Trillion Naira revenue’ under her watch as an Acting Deputy Comptroller-General (Tariff & Trade) between December 10, 2017 and January 10, 2018.