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Senators Blast Nigeria Customs Boss for Refusing to Wear Uniform

…Say He Should Have Been Appointed Sole Administrator

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Senate on Thursday carpeted the Comptroller –General of Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) Rtd Col. Handed Ali over his refusal to wear custom Uniform since 2015 when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is just as former Comptroller‎- Generals of Customs said that the incumbent CG,   supposed to have been designated as Sole Administrator and not the Comptroller-General of Customs since he is not ready to wear uniform depicting the office and rank of that position.

This embarrassment came the way of the Custom Boss during interactive session the Senate Committee on Custom and Excise duties had with Customs  management, Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria over impending amendment bill on operations of the revenue generating agency.

At the session, a member of the Committee, Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central), challenged the custom boss for still being in mufti close to two years after his appointment which to him, was highly demoralising to the officers and men of the agency.

“Mr. CG, this committee will like to know the reason why you are still in mufti close to two years after your appointment as the Comptroller General of Nigeria custom service”, he fired.

But, Ali in his response said being a former military officer tradition and infact, statute does not permit him  to wear any other uniform again.

A response that infuriated another member of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) who reminded Custom CG that a retired General of the Nigerian Army in person of Halidu Hananiya wore Federal Road Safety’s Uniform when appointed as Corp Marshall of the agency.

But, Ali countered again by submitting that  Hananiya made mistake with his  action then, which however angered Senator Ogba who angrily walked out of  the session saying “this is  how you people keep deceiving Nigerians on wrong action and still defending it”.

Ali was also tackled by the committee over the non-composition of custom board since 2015 when it was dissolved.

According to the Committee Chairman, Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP Imo West), it was wrong and in fact illegal for the custom CG alone to be promoting and firing officer without the board in place and ordered immediately constitution of the board.

“You claimed  that the Minister of  Finance is the one delaying the composition of the board, this committee has written letter straight away to the Minister, Secretary to the Government of the Federation  and Attorney General of Federation to put the board in place without any further delay.” he said.

After the session, the chairman jokingly told the Custom CG that “We are releasing you to go and sew your uniform while we continue with officials of Ministry of Finance and Central Bank.”

At  a separate session with former Comptroller- Generals of Customs led by Haliru Mohammed Bello‎ who was Customs CG under General Ibrahim  Babangida’s  administration.

Bello at the session supported the committee for querying the incumbent CG over his continuous refusal to wear custom Uniform.

According to him, the incumbent CG supposed to have been designated as Sole Administrator not CG of custom since he was not ready to be in Customs  Uniform.

 

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