Ali dares Senate, says ‘I have Customs meeting to attend’ as Senators insist on his appearance on Wednesday
The Senate on Tuesday insisted that the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), must appear before it in uniform on Wednesday.
This followed the receipt of a letter from Ali seeking permission not to appear on Wednesday.
An Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Azarema Abdulkadir, had written to the Clerk of the Senate requesting that the upper chamber gave the comptroller-general a new date to appear before it.
The Senate had on March 9, asked Ali to appear in plenary in uniform on Wednesday to address the issues of retrospective payment of duty on vehicles.
The letter was read by the Clerk, Mr Nelson Ayewoh, to the senators at plenary.
It stated that Wednesday that the Senate expected the comptroller-general to appear before it coincided with the fortnightly meeting of the NCS management.
The letter requested that the upper chamber should give a new date for Ali to appear before it.
Reacting to the letter, Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said that the excuse by Ali could not take precedence over the invitation of the senate.
“The letter was signed by someone else, not the C-G of Customs.
“A letter coming to the Senate from the Customs, especially an invitation, was written to the Customs C-G to appear here. He should have taken personal interest in writing that letter and signed it.
“This would have given his judgement some form of respect for the institution, not for us. I feel slighted and I am sure that everybody is slighted,” Lawan said.
On his part, Senator 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.
In his remarks, Senate President, 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.
Meanwhile, the Senate will on Wednesday screen the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.