Senate, Customs boss face-off worsens

Senate, Customs boss face-off worsens

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 1:30 pm

Hameed Ibrahim Ali: Customs Chief

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday insisted that Hammed Ali, the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service must honour its last week’s invitation to appear before them lawmakers on Wednesday and in his official uniform.

The Senate said this in reaction to a letter by Ali read in plenary on Tuesday in which the Customs CG said he cannot honour the Senate’s invitation on Wednesday as he had already schedule a meeting for the same day.

The lawmakers had invited the Customs chief over plans to clampdown on vehicles imported into the country without payment of appropriate duties.

The lawmakers also insisted that Ali, a retired colonel who has not been wearing uniform since he was appointed to head the Customs by President Muhammadu Buhari should appear in uniform.

But the Senators rejected Ali’s excuse, saying it was not acceptable and a test on the integrity of the Senate.

Senators therefore asked the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to reject  Ali’s letter, and  mandated him “to appear in uniform tomorrow (Wednesday as scheduled) by 10:30 AM”.

Sen. James Manager (Delta-PDP) said that the comptroller-general had tested the integrity of the senate.

“When a letter like this is coming from the executive, the Senate must take a firm stand.

“The C-G must appear before the senate on Wednesday. A meeting is not beyond his control; this is an insult of the highest order,” Manager said.

Thereafter, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the position of the chamber was clear and that the C-G should appear on Wednesday as directed by the earlier resolution.

“We wait to see him here tomorrow,” Saraki said.

Ali had earlier rejected the Senate’s instruction that he should appear in uniform.  “I was not appointed Comptroller General to wear uniform,” he said affirming that uniform has nothing to do with the performance of his job as a Customs CG.

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