Senate summons customs boss for refusal to comply with resolution
‘Ali must appear in customs uniform’
The Senate yesterday asked Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, to appear before it next Wednesday to explain his refusal to comply with its earlier resolution which asked him to reverse the agency’s decision to punish vehicle owners without proper clearance papers.
The Upper Legislative Chamber unanimously adopted a resolution yesterday inviting the customs helmsman for questioning on why he ignored the resolution.
Adopting a motion raised by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), the senate was particularly irked by remarks credited to Ali in which he was alleged to have questioned the powers of the senate to give the Customs Service orders.
The senate directed Ali to appear in plenary in appropriate customs uniform, adding that it would not allow him access to the chamber without his uniform.
It also passed a similar resolution last week directing the NCS to stop its plans to penalise Nigerians whose vehicles do not have proper customs clearance papers.
The resolution followed a motion moved by the Deputy Leader, Bala Na’Allah, who described the new customs policy as a serious matter.The Senate resolved that the service should put on hold actions until the agency appears before its Committee on Customs.
But displaying a newspaper publication to senators at Thursday plenary, Melaye drew the attention of his colleagues to what he called Ali’s display of impunity and arrogance.
Ruling on the motion, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary said part of their responsibility was to maintain peace at all times.
Ekweremadu noted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, while appearing before it said the major problem we face in this country is the culture of impunity, stressing that while the fight against corruption was ongoing, everyone must fight impunity.
He said: “We cannot allow impunity to take roots in this country. Today we are talking about vehicles that were imported many years ago but we forget that there are beds in our rooms that were prohibited but were imported.”
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday condemned in strong terms, continued flaring of gas in the country, saying it was the most dangerous environmental and energy waste practice in the petroleum industry. Accordingly, a bill to prohibit gas flaring, sponsored by Senator Albert Bassey, scaled second reading on the floor of the senate