Senate, Customs boss clash again over protocol issues

The senators who visited the customs HQ in Abuja complained that Ali did not welcome them with due respect.

The two parties were said to have disagreed over the failure the Customs boss to welcome senators in accordance with stipulated protocol.

The lawmakers who are members of the senate ad hoc committee on waste had on Monday visited the customs headquarters in Abuja.

Chairman of the committee, Dino Melaye said Ali was expected to have received the committee members into the premises and not just meeting them at the conference room.

Melaye said the protocol has been the practice with statutory bodies like customs, immigration, prisons, etc, over the years and wondered why such etiquette was not accorded the committee.

He said, "Before reading the prepared speech of the committee, let me make this small remark on what we have just observed here in form of breach of protocol.

"Mr CG, rather than meeting us here at the conference room by way of courtesy, you supposed to have met us at the ground floor on arrival into the premises."

But the customs boss asserted that the senate cannot dictate to the NCS what to do as it has its own protocols different from other public establishments.

"We have our own protocol as regards receiving visitors like you," he said.

"I don’t need to come downstairs to receive you just as nobody in the senate or house of representatives has ever come out to receive us anytime we visit the national assembly.

"Let me state clearly that in the Nigeria Customs Service we are servants of the people. We believe in Nigeria and working with others to make it great without being railroaded in anyway."

Background

In 2017, Ali clashed with senators over customs plan to  seize vehicles belong to lawmakers because no duty was paid on the vehicles.

The senate summoned him over this, and instructed that the Customs boss must wear a customs uniform during his appearance.

But Ali refused flouted the directive, saying he was not appointed to wear uniform.

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