The Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties on Thursday told the Customs Comptroller-General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) to wear the uniform of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to reflect his designation as the CG.
Speaking when the committee summoned Ali to explain the reason for the promotion and the sacking of officers without the approval of a board, the Senator representing Ebonyi central, Obinna Ogba, wondered why Ali would go run the affairs of the NCS in civilian attire.
“Mr CG, this committee will like to know the reason why you are still in mufti close to two years after your appointment as the comptroller-general of Nigeria Custom Service,” he said.
In his response, Ali explained that his reason for not wearing the uniform is because he is a retired army officer, adding that it was against military tradition for him to wear the uniform of another organisation.
Apparently not satisfied with the response, Ogba said, “this is how you people keep deceiving Nigerians on wrong action and still defending it,” before exiting the session.
In the main, Chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who represents Imo west, faulted the decision of the Customs boss to promote and fire officers without recourse to a board.
He maintained that it was illegal for the CG to carry out such administrative assignments without a board in place.
But Ali blamed the Minister of Finance for the delay in the constitution of a board for the NCS.
Uzodinma reacted to this by assuring that the committee would send a letter to the ministry and other relevant bodies for the immediate constitution of the NCS board.
“You claimed that the Minister of Finance is the one delaying the composition of the board, this committee will write a letter straight away to the Minister, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Attorney-General of the Federation to put the board in place without any further delay.
“We are releasing you to go and sew your uniform while we continue with officials of ministry of finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” he said.