Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Angry Senate invokes warrant of arrest to compel Customs CG to appear today

Controlled anger and the ‘last trap in view’ can best be described as the strategy applied by the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday to arrive at sending another invitation relying on the warrant of arrest provisions of the law to the embattled Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear today, Thursday.

Trouble seems to have fumed up after the Senate president, Bukola Saraki read out two letters from Customs.

Whereas first letter signed by a junior officer only informed the Senate of Ali’s inability to come Wednesday due to bereavement, the second letter was a press release indicating suspension of the controversial drive for Vehicles Import Duty pending the end of consultations with stakeholders including the lawmakers.

The letter that annoyed the lawmakers read in parts: “Letter from CG, Re: Invitation to brief the Senate.

“I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter number NASS/CS/8S/R/09/29 of 9th March, 2017 on the above subject matter.

“I am further directed to inform you that the date given to the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Wednesday 15th, March 2017 to brief the senate in plenary on the retrospective duty payment of vehicles in Nigeria coincided with the fortnight meeting of the NCS management.

“Consequently, the comptroller general is humbly requesting for a new date from the distinguished senate.

“As we await your favourable response, please be assured of the highest regards and esteem of the Comptroller General of Customs.

“Signed Azarema A. Assistant Comptroller General, headquarters for Comptroller General of Customs”

Senator Kabiru Mafara fired the first shot, expressing anger and disrespect on the side of the CG, saying Ali’s inability to appear Wednesday amounts to trivialization of the collective intelligence of law makers and must be roundly rejected by all.

Towing Senator Mafara’s outburst, Senator Adeyeye wanted to douse the tension by attempting to amend a motion moved by Senator Thompson Sekibo who invoked relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution to apply Warrant of Arrest should he fail to appear today (Thursday) by 10.00AM.

However, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion compelling Customs boss to appear Thursday and used the occasion to make it clear that Nigerian motorists cannot be held responsible for a document that is constitutionally the property of the car importers which an ordinary car buyer cannot have access to.

Though the lawmakers were tactically silent on the issue of appearing on uniform, Senator Mafara out of anger leaked a secret shrouding Ali’s position, saying he learnt that his rejection of the Customs uniform stemmed from his naïve believe that having worn and dropped the most respected uniform in Nigerian which the Army, he cannot stoop so low to wear Customs uniform after all.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Customs before press time failed.