The Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Hameed Ali, on Wednesday failed to honour Senate’s invitation ordering him to appear before it.
TheNewsGuru.com reports that the CG was scheduled to appear before the Senate on Wednesday’s (today) plenary to brief the lawmakers on his planned action on vehicles without duty payment.
However, in accordance with Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution, the Senate resolved to “compel” Mr. Ali to appear on Thursday “to state his case”.
TheNewsGuru.com reports that as a way of parcifying the already enraged senators, the Customs CG suspended the policy to impound vehicles without duty payment.
However, the suspension met a brick wall as the senators were unperturbed in their decision to have the Customs DG appear before it in uniform to verbally brief them.
On Wednesday, just after the Senate dissolved into committee of the whole to receive DG, who did not appear eventually, Senate President Saraki read a letter dated March 14 from the customs boss, disclosing the decision to halt the duty payment policy.
However, the CG recommended a legal opinion to himself and the Senate on the compulsion to appear before the Senate in uniform.
In the letter, he told the Senate he was bereaved, therefore citing reason why he could not appear today, Wednesday.
‘Bereavement’ was Mr. Ali’s second excuse. In his first letter to the Senate earlier on Tuesday, he said he had to attend an NCS management meeting about same time he was expected to be at the Senate.
Saraki also told his colleagues Mr. Ali visited him Tuesday evening and made commitment to suspend the policy on duty payment.
Senator Kabiru Marafa, (representing APC, Zamfara), was the first to react to the DG’s failure to appear on Wednesday.
Later on, Senator George Sekibo, (representing PDP, Rivers), urged the Senate to invoke the Section 89 of the Constitution which granted the legislature power to issue warrant of arrest in the event Mr. Ali fails to appear.
Efforts by the Senate Whip to amend Mr. Sekibo’s motion were rebuffed by his colleagues who shouted him down, showing apparent rage.
The motion was later seconded by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu without amendment.