I Won’t Appear Before Senate Until Court Ruling – Customs CG

customsReprieve may have come for the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), who was ordered to appear in complete uniform before the Senate on March 22.

The development, follows a suit filed by an Abuja based lawyer, Mohammed Ibrahim, seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the National Assembly from compelling the CG to wear uniform in performance of his duties.

Mr Ali, who acknowledged receipt of the court summons, told a news conference that the Attorney General who is a co-defendant in the suit, has written to the National Assembly advising lawmakers to maintain the status quo, pending the outcome of the suit.

“Based on the summons before the court, all matters relating to the issue are now subjudice so status quo is “anti” which means I will not appear until the court makes a pronouncement therefore the situation remains as it is”.

The CG had been summoned to defend the payment of retroactive duties by motorists whose vehicles have no genuine import duties.

Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on March 16, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.

The House, however, refused to engage him and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.

Meanwhile, more reactions have continued to trail the issue.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, in a statement condemned the summoning of Mr Ali.

He said that although the Senate should not be treated with disdain, the Upper Chamber should have appreciated the limit of its powers under the constitution.

According to Mr Falana, instead of playing into the hands of the Customs boss by invoking the provision of Section 88 of the Constitution, the Senate could have summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to justify the policy of the Nigeria Customs Service, a parastatal under her supervision.

“No power exists under the section for general investigation, not for personal aggrandizement of the House. So the appellants were not entitled to have invited the respondent in the first instance,” Mr Falana said.

Senate, CG Tussle: A Case Of Democratic Power Versus Military Mentality – Yinusa Tanko

ncp-chairmanHuman Rights Activist and National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, has described the situation between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller General, Colonel Hameed Ali, as that of democratic power versus military mentality in a democratic setting.

He made the position known while addressing the issues that led to the summoning of the Customs CG by the Senate and the compulsion to appear in his complete uniform.

“The senate is trying to consolidate its power to say, this is the representative of the people, this House represents the interest of Nigerians and so when we call you, Nigerians call you and you must answer to the question of Nigeria.

“Here, you have an ex-military man, who comes from a big military background, who is trying to show that I’ve been a military man and in this my own profession that I have learned, there are things that cannot go down well with me as an ex-military man.”

Although Col. Ali had argued that there was no law to his knowledge that compelled him to wear the uniform, the NCP Chairman stated that according to some of the Senators, Section 2 of the Customs Act compels the CG to be in his uniform.

According to him, it must be understood that this is a democratic setting and the processes that brought him in must be understood.

Meanwhile, many hold the opinion that the real issue which led to the summoning of the Customs Comptroller General had been pushed to the background, and the focus had shifted to whether or not he appeared in uniform.

On his part, the NCP Chairman admitted to the fact that some of the major issues had been ignored, while also advocating that policies should be made in the interest of Nigerians.

“People who take up offices do not really read up on the kind of laws governing those offices and this is why anyone who is applying into any leadership role should read up on the laws guiding that office.

“If You want to achieve an aim, in ensuring that the system is clean, where there is need for you to do some things in order to get to that particular place, do them so that you would not have this particular altercation that does not depict the kind of person that you are”.

Mr Ali had been summoned to explain the Service’s new directive on duties to be paid on imported vehicles.

Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on Thursday, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.

The House, however, refused to engage the CG and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.

Customs Redeploy 246 Officers, Restates Ban On Rice

Nigerian Customs Service, Rivers, Oil BunkeringThe Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), has approved the redeployment of eight Assistant Comptrollers-General and 238 Deputy Comptrollers of Customs.

A statement by the service’s spokesman, Joseph Attah, revealed on Tuesday that the posting was in a bid to strengthen operations and reposition within the Customs to meet the challenges of the year 2017.

The service added that the redeployment takes immediate effect.

“Assistant Comptrollers-General affected are: ACG Charles Edike from Zone A to Human Resource Development (HRD); ACG Ahmed Mohammed from HRD to Zone B; ACG Aminu Dangaladima from Zone B to Enforcement; ACG Francis Dosumu from Enforcement to Zone D, ACG Augustine Chidi from Zone D to Excise, Free Trade Zone and Industrial Incentives (Ex,FTZ, & I I); ACG Monday Abueh from Ex,FTZ, & I I to Zone A, ACG Umar Sanusi from HQ to Zone C; (and) ACG Abdulkadir Azerema from Zone C to HQ.

“The redeployment of Deputy Comptrollers of Customs affected the service’s Public Relations Officer, DC Wale Adeniyi, who is now posted to Apapa Customs Area Command, Lagos.

“As all the affected officers report at their new zones and commands, the Comptroller-General reiterated (the) Federal Government’s ban on importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders.

“He charged all officers and men of the service to ensure maximum collection of revenue and strict implementation of fiscal policy of government,” the statement read.

Customs Dismiss 17 Junior Officers For Various Offences

Nigeria Customs Officers, offencesThe Nigeria Customs Service has dismissed 17 junior officers for various offences.

The agency says their offences include drug addiction, certificate forgery, theft and absence from duty.

The dismissal was made public on Sunday in a statement by the Customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi.

“Appointment of two other officers have been terminated for absence from duty while one officer was retired for drug addiction,” he said.

The Customs hinted that it was also investigating the senior officers, stating that erring officers would be sanctioned accordingly.

“Investigations into offences committed by the officers in the senior category are now being concluded.

“Officers found guilty are expected to face similar stiff penalties,” he added.

Mr Adeniyi explained further that the process was a continuation of the reform agenda of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (retired).

He said Customs boss had promised to emphasis discipline, good conduct and transparency upon his assumption of office.

Customs Allege Plot To Massively Smuggle Rice Into Nigeria

Hameed Ali, Customs, RiceThe Nigeria Customs Service has raised alarm over a plot to illegally import 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), made the allegation during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that at least 117,000 bags of illegally imported rice have been seized by the Customs since January 2016.

Reps summon finance and agric ministers
Impounded bags of rice

The Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs Yetunde Oni, also corroborated the claims.

She said that the activities of smugglers were affecting Nigeria’s revenue generation, despite its economic recession.

Prior to the development, Customs authority in Ogun State Command decried the increase in the activities of smugglers.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at Idiroko border, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Economy In Recession

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented the upsurge in the cost of rice from 12,000 Naira to over 20,000 Naira in some parts of the country, a fall out of the economic recession.

Economic analysts have said that more persons could go into smuggling of rice due to the increase in price, with most of them opting for Benin Republic where they could get rice for as low as 12,000 Naira.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was a result of the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.gas-pipeline-vandalisation

Some militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, as the government agreed to dialogue with the militants after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

In spite of the development, both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers, alleging a breach of agreements as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.