EXCLUSIVE: Former Customs boss contradicts Hameed Ali on uniform controversy

Cross Section of Customs New Management Team
Cross Section of Customs New Management Team

A former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Bello Haliru, on Tuesday said he wore the uniform of the agency while in office, even though he was a political appointee and not a career officer.

Mr. Haliru was the first CG to be appointed outside the service in 1988 by the former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

He led the agency until 1994 when former military ruler, Sani Abacha, relieved him of the role.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Haliru, who is also a former Minister of Communications from 2001 to 2003, said he was duty-bound to obey all the rules and regulations of the agency following his appointment.

“The moment I was appointed, I became a career Customs officer,” Mr. Haliru said. “I knew I must comply with all rules and regulations of the organisation I am leading and that included wearing a uniform.”

Mr. Haliru said he was proud to lead Customs and appreciated the opportunity given to him by the country to serve.

The comments came amid raging controversy over current CG of Customs’ refusal to wear the agency’s uniform.

Since his appointment in August 2015, Hamid Ali has rebuffed pressure on him to wear the khaki, saying last week that he was “not appointed Comptroller-General to wear uniform.”

Asked to weigh in on the matter, Mr. Haliru said he did not have sufficient knowledge about Mr. Ali’s appointment.

“It depends on the terms of his employment,” Mr. Haliru said. “I don’t know the terms of his employment.”

“But as for me, when I was tapped to lead Customs, having accepted, I had to comply with all the Customs regulations.”

“Wearing uniform is part of the service regulation. When you accept the appointment, you’re subject to the service regulations,” he said.

Mr. Ali, a former army colonel, was also reported to have said that uniformed men do not wear uniform twice.

But a PREMIUM TIMES findings revealed this to be unfounded.

Haladu Hananiya, a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, wore uniform of the agency following his appointment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

This was despite the fact that Mr. Hananiya retired from the Nigerian Army as a major-general years before his appointment to the FRSC.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Customs Service, Joseph Attah, declined comments about the uniform controversy Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Attah told PREMIUM TIMES he preferred to speak on the activities of Mr. Ali since he assumed office rather than dissipate energy over uniform.

“He was appointed from outside the service to carry out three mandates,” Mr. Attah said. “He was appointed to restructure, reform and raise revenue for the country and he has been found to have performed greatly.”

Mr. Attah said Mr. Ali had changed the face and performance of Customs.

“I will rather talk about how Customs has been faring under him.

“Under him, a lot of repositions had taken place. There’s a reinvigoration now in all departments and corruption is being fought from every angle in the service.

“We have zero-tolerance for corruption and have also tried so much in the area of revenue generation.

“You’re aware of the pump action rifles that we intercepted a few weeks ago.

“There are the kinds of things we should be talking about,” Mr. Attah said.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:WARNING TO MEN: These 3 Foods is Killing Your Erection. Click Here to Know Them...


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • T-Rex

    This man should wear the uniform jare! Refusal to don the Customs attire translates to viewing the Customs Service with disdain. You cannot reposition an organisation you have no respect for and not proud to be identified with.

    • zung

      Of course that’s the way he sees it, feeling that the Customs is way below the Military.

  • bootypoppin

    Hamid Ali dug his own grave. He unnecessarily opened a can of worms. Him no know say Nigerians are savages. You dont come out and talk tough. They will dice you.

  • mary

    Do you need Bitcoin ? If Yes Call Pastor Mr. Mathew Udoh on +2349028950795 or by whats app… Bitcoin Is Sold At The Rate Of ( #370/$ ) Per One. ‘ We Also Sell Small Unit With Lower Price With Instant Funding Transaction..

    • oyoko

      pastor again!

  • Ahmed

    This story has no relevance to the reason given by Hameed Ali. The CG said he does not wear the Customs uniform because he was a former military officer as such cannot wear another uniform. Bello Haliru was a Doctor before his appointment

    • Wakawaka

      Did you read the part about a retired major general wearing FRSC uniform? Or you are deliberately feigning ignorance?

    • alhaja tunsj soyemi(iya basira

      Oh? ‘a former military officer cannot wear another uniform’??
      Haba mallam!
      I guess you pretended not to read where PT reminded us; Haladu Hananaya, a retired MAJOR GENERAL wore the FRSC uniform as corps marshall????
      He retired as a MAJOR GENERAL, while Ali retired as a colonel..yet adorned the uniform.
      Haba yaro!

      • Olusola

        Iya Basira! how are you, how is alhaji? See, Haladu at the time can wear FRSC uniform as it was a very good service at the time (even still better than most services today). Customs are dirty, I am sure the man is ashamed to put on their Uniform so as not to identify with their corruption. However I think if he should do, he may be able to motivate them, not sure.

  • pheliciti

    Nigerians love distraction…. We leave the music flowing from the stereo and start dancing to the noise from the generator that powers the stereo!

    We have now forgotten about the important issue of non/ under payment of custom duties for vehicles and are following the ego trip of 3 govt officials who will laugh together heartily at the next social function that bring them together…

  • Josiah Omaduvie

    His appointment is illegal because the act 2014 says CG must come from among DCG.

    • Oskirin

      go to court.or u wait till baba finish whn anoda party enter,,den u dust ur file n sue baba.

      does d act of cbn says presido jona can suspend him/ pls let us knw.

  • Adam Abbas

    The way Ali is handling matters will classify Ali as among the enemies within trying to pull down Buhari. PMB should wake, open his eyes and get rid of all those in his Government that are trying to pull Nigeria down even if they form the kitchen cabinet. As the next batch to be jailed by EFCC after this Government will definitely include the Emefiles, The Abba Kyaris, The Babachirs and the Kwachikus

  • GbemigaO

    I just do not understand the people in this government . It is either it is Buhari that has given them the blank cheque to court unnecessary controversy. You are CG of Customs . Surely you must have ceremonial uniforms. Why not wear it for that day and move on so that you can concentrate on your real job. People blame the Senate but it is all about asserting independence and that is why they are insisting on the uniform. If Buhari is really in control ( which I doubt as the DSS continues to defy him on the Magu issue) , he should order the man to put on his uniform

  • Factualspeech

    @Josiah,do you read the write up at all?
    Its the 21st century,stop showing your ignorance and judging by just headline

    A former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Bello Haliru, on Tuesday said he wore the uniform of the agency while in office, even though he was a political appointee and not a career officer.
    Mr. Haliru was the first CG to be appointed outside the service in 1988 by the former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.
    He led the agency until 1994 when former military ruler, Sani Abacha, relieved him of the role.

    Take note