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Customs Uniform: Hameed Ali Defies Senate Under Guise Of ‘Seeking Legal Advice’

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The comptroller-general of the Nigeria customs service (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ali (Rtd.) has written a letter to Senate President Bukola Saraki, saying he is seeking legal advice on the directive of the senate that he should wear a uniform and appear before the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Earlier on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, he wrote to the senate, saying he would not be available on the day due to a bereavement.

The senate reaffirmed its resolution to summon Ali. A few hours after the upper legislative chamber had adjourned its sitting, Ali sent a letter to Saraki, saying the decision on payment of customs duty by vehicle owners who do not have them, was being reviewed.

“May I respectfully refer to your letter dated 9 March and inform Your Excellency that the decision on payment of customs duties by vehicle owners who do not have them as prescribed by law is currently being reviewed. The goal of the review is to take a broad additional input from the stakeholders and the public. I will welcome the opportunity to avail the senate of our findings,” Ali wrote.

“Regarding wearing of uniform, I wish to advice that the senate avails itself of the legal basis of its decision to compel me to wear uniform. I am similarly taking legal advice on this issue so that both the senate and I will operate within the proper legal framework.”

This is the second letter Ali has written to the senate since his invitation.

In the first one, which was read during a plenary session on Tuesday, he cited the need to attend a management meeting of the customs.

It will be recalled that the Senate had mandated Ali to appear before it in a uniform.

This was after the service announced that it would commence impounding vehicles without paid customs duty.

A loud outcry from Nigerians greeted the planned action which forced the senate to intervene.

The senate passed a resolution, asking the agency to suspend the action, pending an investigation into the exercise, but NCS rebuffed the resolution.

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