Customs Comptroller General, Col Hammed Ali will return to the Senate on 22 March, in the full regalia of his office, the Nigerian Senate ruled today.
Ali had appeared at the Senate chambers on Thursday morning in mufti, ignoring an earlier directive by the senate to wear his uniform.
He claimed the letter inviting him did not specify that he should wear his uniform, after being queried by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekeremadu.
Ali had been on the firing line of Nigerian senators after he directed vehicle owners to verify their customs duty payment at four centers or risk losing their vehicles to seizures after the weeks of grace ending 12 April.
The Senators and several Nigerian stakeholders have criticized the directive as unrealistic. The senators chose to invite Ali to explain the policy.
Senator Ibn Na’Allah said the circular issued by the Customs CG stating to the Senate that he won’t wear his uniform is derogatory.
Na’Allah cited sections 7,8 &10 of the Customs Act which states that the Customs shares same privileges with police and other institutions.
Senator B Jibrin said the CG needs to go and apply the law of the land by wearing uniform before he addresses the Senate as stipulated in the constitution.
Senator Ali Wakili however said the Senate should temper justice with mercy, noting that Ali “is a man of integrity”
Sen. Magnus Abe pleaded with the CG to wear his uniform to preserve the image of the Customs and perception of other institutions.
The motion to compel the CG to appear in uniform was moved by Senator George Sekibo and seconded by Senator Gemade who said it is respectable and important for the Customs boss to wear his uniform.