The Senate has said it will not engage the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) in a war of words. The legislature insisted that Ali must answer its summons on Wednesday by appearing before it.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, told punchon Saturday that instead of going to the media, Ali should appear before the lawmakers and defend himself. The Senate had, on Thursday, asked the Customs boss to appear before it “unfailingly” on Wednesday, adding that Ali would not be admitted into the chamber if he failed to appear in the uniform of the service showing his rank as the DG.
The lawmakers, who took turns to condemn the service for defying an order stopping it from implementing its new policy on vehicle duty, resolved that, “We invite the Comptroller General of Customs to appear in plenary and in uniform.” But Ali, who appeared on a breakfast programme of Television Continental on Friday, pointed out that he would answer the summons by the Senate but would not appear before the lawmakers in uniform.
He said, “I was not appointed Comptroller General to wear uniform. Does uniform work or the person behind the uniform? If we suspect that smuggled items are taken into your own house, we have the right to cordon off that house and search it. Am I doing my job or not? I think that should worry the National Assembly.”
In his reaction, the Senate’s spokesman, however, said the lawmakers would take the next line of action on Ali based on the events that would play out on Wednesday. He said, “For now, we have made our statement. Until he comes, it is not a media war; we are not going to engage him in a media war. We have a procedure and since we have invited him, let him come. When he comes and the Senate discusses with him, whatever the outcome reached will be declared to Nigerians.
BEN TV Lagos