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Senate Vs. Ali; Time up for Hameed Ali at Nigerian Customs Service?

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To avoid a repeat of what apparently happened to the unconfirmed chairman of Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at plenary Wednesday, the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) seemed to have halted the resumption of the controversial arrest of vehicles without documents showing paid Duty for the import of their cars vide a press release hurriedly issued yesterday afternoon.

The Nigerian Customs Service on Wednesday announced the suspension of the implementation of the payment of import duty on old vehicles.

A statement by the Acting Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, stated that suspension of the policy will remain until the service gets the support of the lawmakers in carrying out the exercise.

The statement said “Following the unnecessary tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation of the Nigeria Customs Service planned motor duty payment, the leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.

“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C.45, LFN 2004 should be put on hold while the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions.

“While payment of duty on vehicles or indeed any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian, NCS management has directed that the exercise be put on hold while expressing readiness to engage the Senate Committee on further discussions to bring them on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.”

However, waiting for any form of approval from the lawmakers may as well be chasing white goose as the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu had Wednesday at plenary made it clear that ordinary Nigerian motorist cannot be compelled to drive around town with a document that statutorily belongs to the car importer who had long done his business and sold the car to the end user. There is no law that made Customs Duty paid receipt as one of the motoring documents or particulars after all.