Chris Steven, Abuja
The faceoff between the National Assembly and Comptroller General, CG of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Hameed Ali, is degenerating as the former has sent a letter to the Senate, saying he will not appear before the lawmakers on Wednesday as expected.
The Senate had last week Thursday mandated the Customs CG to appear before the upper legislative chamber, in his uniform,to explain the Service’s newly introduced vehicle duty payment policy.
But Ali, a retired Army Colonel, granted an interview where he reportedly said he would appear before the Senate but not in the Customs uniform,adding that what should matter to the lawmakers was whether he was discharging his duties as CG effectively or not.
In the letter which was read on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday by the clerk of the Senate, the CG said he has a meeting to attend on Wednesday, hence his inability to answer the Senate’s summon.
Reacting to the letter, Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, described it as unacceptable and insisted that the CG must appear before the lawmakers on Wednesday as initially resolved.
Another lawmaker, James Manager said: “The integrity of the Senate is being tested” noting that the CG of Customs didn’t even “address the letter properly”.
Senate President Bukola Saraki then put the motion to a voice vote and majority of the lawmakers agreed that the CG of Customs should appear before the Senate in his uniform on Wednesday by 10.30 am.