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Hameed Ali Senate summons Customs boss, says he 'must appear in uniform'

Senator Olamilekan said 'Custom officers now act like gangsters' under the leadership of Hameed Ali.

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The Senate has expressed displeasure over the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service under the leadership of its comptroller general, Hameed Ali.

The Senate on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, ordered the Customs Service to halt its plan to seize all vehicles with unpaid import duty.

But the Customs says it would go on with its plan despite the resolution of the Senate.

Raising a point of order on Thursday, March 9, 2017, Senator Dino Melaye noted that the Customs has ‘continually disregarded’ the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The senate will take a resolution and an agency of government will have the temerity, will have the guts and strength to blatantly disregard the Nigerian senate. It is a very dark day for democracy,” Senator Melaye said.

“I'm a member of the customs committee, I want to educate some of us today, the position of CGC is rank. I asked him in the committee why he is not wearing uniform rank and he said ‘uniformed men don't wear uniform twice’.

“I reminded him that he retired as a colonel and General Ananiah retired as a general and was appointed as the corps marshal of the FRSC, we were proudly the uniform of the Road Safety. 

“If we are taking a decision of the people and agency disrespects the Nigerian senate, however we will need to check this properly. If they are taking duty on Nigerian road but if the president is passing no customs officer will stop him and ask for papers, they will salute and the president’s convoy will pass.

"Same with me as a Senator. But it is the people who will suffer if the excesses of the Customs are not checked,” he added.

ALSO READ: Senate probes alleged Customs raid of Kayero market

Similarly, Senator Adeola Olamilekan noted that the Customs boss has been acting like the Commander-in-Chief of the country adding that officers of the service now operate like ‘gangsters’.

“I think it is high time we check the level of high-handedness of the comptroller of customs because he is acting is acting like he is the commander in chief of the country,” he said. 

“The issue of uniform is an insult to the Nigerian customs if you are the head of customs and you cannot wear uniform. You take salute, parade, wearing mufti.  I feel this is an insult to the customs agency.

“Customs officers now act like a gangster. He is performing below par; it will not be out of place of we recommend for his removal. But let's wait for him to appear in plenary first in uniform,” he added

Senator Lanre Tejuoso alleged that two members of his constituent were killed by men of the Customs.

The Senate resolved that the comptroller General of Customs ‘must’ appear before the Senate in his appropriate uniform on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

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