- The Senate has summoned the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service;
- The Comptroller General is to appear in uniform or resign from the service;
The Nigerian Senate has ordered the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear “in plenary in uniform” on Wednesday, March 15, “unfailingly.” If he refused to comply, the lawmakers called for Ali’s removal if he failed to comply with directives from the Senate.
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In his statement, Senator Adeola expressed disappointment in Ali’s response, saying he expected the retired army Colonel, to know the importance of uniforms.
Adeola said: “Military and paramilitary uniforms inclusive of ranks are part of the symbol of legitimate authority conferred on the wearer to carry out certain duties on behalf of the government.
“Except in covert operations, an officer in these organizations operating without uniform could be taken to be performing illegal duty or worse, be taken as not representing the institution at all. And as stated on the floor of the Senate in plenary, the Comptroller General is rank that can only be worn on uniform and not on mufti.”
According to the lawmaker, there is concern among officers and men of the Customs Service on the appointment of ‘outsider’ to head the agency as it is a morale killer, career progression inhibitor as well as damaging to the organizational growth of the service stressing that there may be need to amend the Nigerian Customs Act to restrict appointment of CG to career officers as it is done in the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Immigrations and the Nigerian Prisons Service.”
“The APC-led Government of President Muhammadu Buhari was elected on the promise of change, adherence to rule of law and renunciation of impunity in any forms. The story we hear daily is the arrogance and high-handedness of the CG and name dropping of the President.
“We had it on good authority of his reluctance to be answerable to the Minister of Finance as stipulated in laws of the land. We that were elected cannot look the other way while the people we represent are subjected to avoidable hardship orchestrated by an unelected appointee in a bid to cure the inefficiencies of the agency he leads. We are in a democracy,” the Senator added.
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Nonetheless, lawmakers has demanded the Custom Boss appear before the lawmakers in the chamber in Customs uniform, which the NCS boss had refused to wear saying as a retired military officer, he was not allowed to wear any other uniform. He also noted that the uniform is not what gets the job done but the man in the uniform.
It would be recalled that the Comptroller General had earlier refused to suspend action on the proposed clamp down on vehicles without duty payment, as ordered by the legislature.