Customs Uniform Saga: Presidency Backs Ali Against Senate

The senior lawyer stated that if the Federal Government fails to do so, he will challenge the policy at the Federal High Court.

Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na'Allah, who provided a detailed background to Ali's invitation, said that the Act setting up the Customs Service provide that the Comptroller-General should wear uniform, even as he said that the motion leading to Ali's invitation was moved by him, upon sighting the circular on old vehicles issued by the Customs.

Since he did not appear in uniform the Senate made a decision to adjourn its debate on the matter to enable him to comply with the directive.

"The Senate lacks the vires (power) to summon the CGC on policy matters. So the appellants were not entitled to have invited the respondent in the first instance", Mr Falana said. In the instant case, the Senate is not conducting an investigation but challenging the policy of the Nigeria Customs Service on payment of duties.

"With respect, the summons served on the CGC is illegal and unconstitutional as it can not be justified under section 88 (2) of the constitution".

Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, has not been seen in Customs uniform since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, causing confrontation between him and senators who have demanded that he appears before them in hius full customs regalia next week or face serious consequences.

"The AGF has advised that no law compels a political appointee to wear any uniform". Neither the constitution not the Rules of Procedure of the Senate has conferred on it the power to compel the CGC to wear customs uniform when he is not a serving customs officer.

In a statement to LEADERSHIP, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam said the Customs CG was not a commissioned officer hence can't assumed the character of an officer of the service.

"You don't expect someone who has risen to that position in the Army to wear customs uniform".

He said, "Section 10 of CEMA Cap C 45 of 2004 as amended say the characters of a proper Customs Officer shall include but not limited to Uniform, Service Number, rank, identity card and of course a formal training to initiate an officer into revenue and enforcement duty".

  • Arturo Norris