Wearing Customs uniform will ‘belittle’ Hameed Ali’s army achievement — Retired General

Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ali arriving the Nigerian Senate
Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ali arriving the Nigerian Senate

David Jemibewon, a retired major general and former governor of defunct Western State, has weighed in on the ongoing faceoff between the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service and the Senate.

Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, has not been seen in Customs uniform since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, sparking confrontation between him and senators who threatened serious consequences if he failed to do so by next week.

The senate before then had passed a resolution demanding that the customs boss appears before it on the service uniform to explain issues bordering on duty payment for imported vehicles.

Mr. Jemibewon said the demand from the senators was unnecessary.

“We tend to create controversy where there ought not to be controversy. In a situation we are today, we should not be focusing on wearing a uniform,” Mr. Jemibewon said.

Nonetheless, he threw his support behind Mr. Ali, describing him as a fine military man who should not belittle himself with Customs uniform.

“It would be belittling the position of the uniform of a member of the Armed forces,” Mr. Jemibewon said.

Mr. Jemibewon, a former Minister of Police Affairs, said he would have resigned if anyone had compelled him to wear police uniform as a minister.

“There was no way anybody could have compelled me to wear uniform. I would have resigned,” Mr. Jemibewon said. “Even if the law said so I would have resigned.”

The comments came days after PREMIUM TIMES reported that a former Customs chief appointed outside the service in similar manner as Mr. Ali wore uniform.

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

Similarly, 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.

When reminded about these past events, Mr. Jemibewon praised their humility, but stood his ground, still.

“That is very good and I am happy about that. He probably just wanted to identify with them,” Mr. Jemibewon said of Mr. Hananiya, adding that they joined the Army together on the same day.

Mr. Jemibewon also admitted that he doesn’t know what Customs rules and regulations stipulate, but repeated that an Army officer should be above a Customs’ uniform.

“The highest patriotic body in any country in the world is the Army,” Mr. Jemibewon said. “You don’t expect someone who has risen to that position in the Army to wear customs uniform.”

“Here is a man who has excelled in his military career and you’re asking that one to wear Customs uniform? I don’t see how that will ensure competence and efficiency.”

But a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, disagreed, writing on Twitter that the Senate must assert its position and a foremost authority in the country.

“The Senate should insist that he appears before them stark naked. If he refuses they should arrest him and have him brought in chains,” Mr. Fani-Kayode, who had beenstanding trial for alleged corruption since last year, tweeted on Sunday.

The Senate rescheduled Mr. Ali’s appearance to March 22 during which he must appear in uniform.


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  • Infoezone Infoezone

    Empty pride. If you are bigger than the organization then resign.

    • Boogie man

      Please quote the law that compels him to wear uniform as a political appointee. None.

      • Okokondem

        It might not be a law but it is obviously a tradition that those who served in that capacity, including retired military officers his senior, had no problem observing.

        It is no doubt members of the NASS are less than honorable and bring disrepute to the institution. However, the law, requirement or tradition that members of the uniformed government agencies and department appear before the NASS in their official uniform is to show respect to the institution regardless of the conduct or reputation of the current occupiers the NASS.

        • Boogie man

          You are Wrong. The senate just wanted to rubbish Ali. Magu just came from there the other day. He wore black suit. Now Magu is a serving police officer with the rank of deputy commissioner of police. They did’nt ask where his uniform was. Political appointees may choose to wear uniform or not. It is not mandatory. Besides, what does uniform add to a man’s performance on a job. Senators should focus on law making and stop grandstanding.

          • Gary

            Magi currently heads a civilian agency on secondment from the Police. The EFCC does not have a uniform.

          • jude L/A USA

            You goofed bro, cant you see their red jacket written “EFCC”?

          • Tare Daniel

            Thats not a uniform. Its operation jacket, similar to DSS. Magu does not lead field operation himself.

          • Uzoma

            “Besides, what does uniform add to a man’s performance on a job. Senators should focus on law making and stop grandstanding.”

            Well, then, can we ask all policemen to be going to work in mufti? Please, think through your arguments before you place them on record.

        • Tunji Olarewaju

          Not only before the NASS, but on duty too

      • John A

        Go and read last week Wednesday news, when the deputy senate leisured him on that issue and where it was written in the custom rules and regulations.

      • Tunji Olarewaju

        He wasn’t appointed a Sole Administrator, but a substantive CG of Customs and draws a salary as one. If he’s too big to wear the uniform, the honourable thing is for him to resign.

        • OJERINDE, Olatunde A.

          This is according to your whims. Now give a quote that says he must wear uniform apart from the blabbing from the thieves in the senate.

  • Arabakpura

    Fani Kayode has gone mad! Anybody requires any more proof?

  • Dawood

    Hamed must be frustrating the corrupt tendencies of NASS. Fellow Nigerians, this is how you judge if a Buhari appointee is doing their job: if NASS harasses you, you’re doing your job; if they praise you, you must be doing something shady. Now, why would PT ask the opinion of a serial adulterer and thief Phony-Kayode? This thief does not have the moral grounds to judge a dog.

    • Okokondem

      It’s obvious you have failed to differentiate between the institution of NASS and the less than honorable men and women currently occupying it.

      The requirement by law that members of the various uniformed departments and agencies of the government to appear before the national assembly in uniform is in reverence to the institution and not the current occupiers. I’m surprised you don’t know that, or are you simply being mischievous.

      As for David Jemibewon, referring to him as a statesman after this gaff is misguided. Imagine how he ruled going to 50 years ago if he is this daft in his twilight years. That’s is Nigeria’s problem right there. We have continually relied and trusted none entities to rule us.

    • Mikogo

      Whether he is doing his job or not is not the issue. Let him swallow is pride and present himself wearing his uniform as comptroller general. Pride and ego are the major short falls in our leaders.

    • Alpachino Roar

      What did ali achieve as a colonel

      • Mikogo

        Nothing extraordinary.

  • Shehu Monguno

    An arrogant statement from an elder statesman

    • TownMan

      Folks like you make them arrogant. What exactly is “elder statesman”? The old man is a crook who cannot excel in any system of merit. This sick army supremacy mentality is what made two ediots dressed as soldiers brutally assault a helpless physically-challenged man. Nonsense!

  • uOkwunna

    Mr David Jemibewon at your age you can’t be blunt and call a spade a spade, if Rtd Colonel Hameed Ali is too big to wear custom’s uniform then he should resign because that job is too small for him.
    Take it or leave it this nation is doomed because even the elders who under normal circumstances are at the periphery of their grave lacked sincerity of purpose rather they still indulged in eye service Shame, Shame and Shame to this barbaric contraption called Nigeria.

  • Maitama Tambari

    What a nonsense statement. General Hananiya was wearing the Road Safety Uniform when he was the Commander of the Agency. General Hananiya was not a Col nor a Brd General but a Major General. Why did he take the job if it is bellow his Military career?

    • OJERINDE, Olatunde A.

      Only that you have not said which part of his terms of appointment mandated him to wear the uniform…..why not do us that favour.

  • amazing2012

    ….Then let him leave the customs service and go back to his village.

  • Harry

    Hamed Ali should resign if he feels ‘belittled’ by the customs uniform. He collects salaries and allowances as a customs CG but is ashamed to identify with the agency.

  • Adam Abbas

    Hameed Ali is giving Nigerians his share of double standard. You feel you are superior to wear customs uniform yet you have taken the job and office, office of custom boss. Shame. If you really think you are superior to wear custom uniform then you should NOT be a custom officer that you are now. Hammed Ali whether you like it or not you are now a customs officer. You shouldnt have accepted that job. Just resign and save your face. The cult called military was gallant and prestigious before, not now. How many wars did you fight in your military carrier apart from coups and counter coups. Did Hameed Ali go to Liberia or Sierra leone? Nigerian military that colunt wipe out bokoharam in 7 years. Boko haram a cult of miscreants drug addicts could not be wiped out by the military. Shame. The CIVILIAN JTF are doing the job for them. Shame

    • Okokondem

      He will not resign. The perks and other unwarranted, undeserved benefits will keep him at the job even as he defends the indefensible.

  • Nicolas

    I heard 3 credits was required to enlist in the Army in their days, reason we have Generals who never fought any war but rose to the rank by how loyal they can be to the ruling junta.

  • pheliciti

    But how can anyone in his right senses quote Fanikayode, a proven drug addict and an accused on trial for theft?

  • Ceejay Iloelunachi

    What a country! Nigerian so-called leaders that never lead by example. They pick and choose which laws and rules to obey or discard. Shameful

  • Mufu Ola

    Fani Kayode with his lunatic talks.

    • Otile

      Wonderful, a lunatic knows the talk of other lunatics, Abi

      • Mufu Ola

        Wonderful! You always love & admire lunatics even in “Biafraism”.

        • Otile

          You adore them Awon were in Oduduwaland.

        • Julius

          lolz, he is a wet back lunatic !

  • Curseless

    This is an easy case to resolve in that if Ali is.too big to wear customs uniform then it means he is too big for the job. The government should find a candidate among the custome’s rank to fill the post.

  • John A

    “It would be belittling the position of the uniform of a member of the Armed forces,” Mr. Jemibewon said.
    This man is a certified moron, do we still need reasons why Nigeria is grounded.

    • Tunji Olarewaju

      None at all

    • kunle1234

      You’re talking rubbish

    • Julius

      Tell me what has the uniform got to do with his performers on the job ?

      • George

        So all police should stop wearing uniform provided they are performing their duties.

        • Julius

          Really George ? Is he in the police ?

  • Isaac Azor

    The Senate is full of import duty evaders and economic fraudstars. They are trying to intimidate the heads of the departments responsible so to get away with their loots. PMB please wake up before these people set the country on fire.

    • Du Covenant

      My broda, you just hit the nail right on it’s head. The senators continue to take advantage of Nigerians who for the most part do not know their rights as citizens. I never saw Soyinka in FRSC uniform even though he was the first person to head this agency. The current CG of Customs has frustrated their usual avenues of importing things into the country and they are hitting back. Which uniform should the Minister of defense or internal affairs wear in Nigeria if we continue to be so primitive believing that anyone in position should wear uniform?. If this man was a career custom officer and suddenly decides not to wear a uniform that symbolizes corruption I will will understand. The question we should be asking is, is this man doing what he was appointed to do?. Must senators are either asleep or busy playing with their cellphone during plenary for all to see yet we allow them get away with it. As a people, what are our priorities in the first place?.

  • The President must recall Ali from the office of the customs comptroller immediately and appointment a new one. If he’s too big to wear the uniform, then he’s too big for the office. Nigeria needs another customs comptroller.

  • Du Covenant

    I totally agree with Mr. Jemibewon’s position on this matter but, if the current CG of custom resigns our rogue senators would have succeeded in their mission. The true story is, this man has plugged all wholes the senators have been using to smuggle things into the country and they are not happy with him. He cannot be influenced by them, the same holds true with Magus and they are scared to death about these two. The man is not a career customs officer who suddenly refuses to wear a uniform that stinks of corruption kilometers away. Being a retired military person let the decision to identify with the people he leads be his to make. We are just reinforcing our primitiveness that anyone in position of power should be in uniform, what uniform should the defense minster or internal affairs minister wear following this nonsensical argument?.

    • Austine

      Please Nigerians should come out of their day dream. Is it constitutional to wear the uniform or not. If you are upright Nigeria the uniform should not be a hindrance to your fairness. And talking about bring down ones prestige I total disagree with it. Show good example that’s the true change Begin’s with you Buhari campaign.
      Stop the hide n seek game and face reality. We should grow up and stop encouraging pride against stewardship.

  • A.A

    The senate is full of wanted people abroad or in court for criminal act at home. How could criminals should make law for Nigerian citizens who are law abiding people?.. Just because Sariki who is already facing seventeen counts of criminal offences is involved in this saga, hence the voted people who are to serve Nigerian public, referring themselves as politicians on the side of someone who has committed crime against Nigerian people. Its only in Nigerian that people facing criminal cases could still be parading themselves as representative of their locality. In China, they would have been executed.

    • George

      Next time vote for angle but at the moment Saraki is going nowhere for your Tinibu preferred candidate

  • Alpachino Roar

    See some moron comparing Ministerial position and a career CG position. How won’t Nigeria then be grounded.

  • Keen Observer

    This is truly raining session, I’m sure FFK’s madness has started coming back…!

  • Keen Observer

    @George_USA:disqus Dear, you’re viewing this issue from only one angle. Try to readjust your angle of view. Then you’ll ”Feel the hands of Jacob but hears the voice of Esau..”.
    Nigeria Senate & NASS does not ordinarily stamped their feet on the ground against any govt policy/law EXCEPT their personal interest is bruised / blocked.
    You remembered CCB (Code of conduct Bureau) / CCT (Code of Conduct Tribunal) which Saraki & his gangs wanted to repeal the laws establishing these. Why? because Saraki was docked because of illegal declaration of his true assets. The salaries Saraki has been receiving for about 2yrs as governor of Kwara state after his exit & many other dubious bank transfers & deals he was involved in were exposed by EFCC & CCT.
    Because of these he incited his gangs (Legis-looters) apparently sure their own assets were illegally acquired into making attempt to repeal the laws that established CCT / CCB right? Pls forget about Nigeria Senate & NASS, majority of them there are worst than ARMED ROBBERS that the Police is persuing daily bcos of official corruption & official gangstarism (breaking Nigeria laws & regulations) which they should be protecting.
    How about the Bullet-proof Range Rover Jeep Saraki imported with fake custom documents revealed couple of days ago?
    A look at Dino Melaye’s car park, you’ll not see any single Nigeria assembled cars; From DINO 1 to over DINO 15 number plates on his imported cars / power bikes, one does not need to tell you that Nigeria is bleeding towards death from what these LEGIS-LOOTERS are doing in our NASS.

    • George

      So what is holding the so called CCT not to jail him to now if actually they have a good case against Saraki.

    • Very interesting. Thanks for the brief. Saraki and Dino and all the ‘legislooters’ will be taken care of by the system at the appropriate time. I’m not their fan. We are in a democracy. NASS are the representatives of the people. As flawed as the body is at the moment, they speak for the people. They are the voice of the people. We will eventually flushed all the looters out. That’s how democracy works all over the world. It won’t be different in Nigeria. These looters are the step-children of corrupt 50 yrs of dictatorships. They are following the foot steps of the dictators. What Saraki, Dino and all the current looters stole from our commonwealth Is a fraction of what the dictators looted in the 50 yrs of their mediocre administrations. I am not a fan of this NASS. We’ve got to work with what we have. Let Hameed Ali wears his uniforms.

  • T-Rex

    It is not belittling of his achievements in the army when he receives a Customs CG salary/allowances/estacode,rides in a CG’s official staff,fly in a Customs CG plane,lives in the Customs CG official residence and gladly address him as a CG everywhere! Why should wearing a uniform now be a problem? Jemibewon,you are talking rubbish. Leave trash for Lawma jor!

  • Concerned Nigerian

    Why was he appointed in the first place? Were there no qualify custom officers?Someday this president will a appoint a medical Doctor as the Chief Justice.

  • Mr Integrity

    So now we know he is not wearing customs uniform because he looks down on them

    • George

      Yes my brother.

      He sees them little among equal.

  • Julius

    Is anybody out there still doubting that FFK is mentally sick and unbalanced ?

  • George

    If the wearing of uniform has nothing to do with performer I suggest ALL POLICE stop wearing their uniform provided they are performing their duties according to certified morons.

    SHAME ON NIGERIANS who willfully voted for calamities called Buhari

  • Abdulhakeem Bala NaAllah

    If you only know what will happen had the cgs been allowed to enact the law that brought the rift you would work on feet to work cause you certainly will not be in a car until you have your custom duty proof of payment even if you bought the car in 1960
    Few people know this is where it all started

  • thusspokez

    Wearing Customs uniform will ‘belittle’ Hameed Ali’s army achievement — Retired General

    Yeah? How about when army officers embezzle public funds — compared such criminality to mere wearing of the uniform of another law enforcement agency?

    Also, what about wearing civilian clothes? Does this belittle an army officer’s achievements too? And if not, why? This retired general clearly lacks the ability to think things through; indeed, he sounds like a nincompoop.

  • thusspokez

    I find the whole debate rather petty. Even celebrity gossip magazines would not devote this length of time to discussing the matter.

  • apcecum

    Why do you wear civlian clothes? why not wear and die with your generals uniform? olodo

  • Olu-Lion

    Buhari biggest mistake is not having interest in who leads the national assembly. PMB failure started on the day he ignored APC position on the NASS leadership.

  • Fiery Critic

    I beg to disagree. Public service is a selfless venture. It’s not about you. It is about serving the people regardless of whom you are.

  • Voice Out

    Kangaroo reasoning from Jemibewon. Why is he wearing civilian dress now? Why can’t he continue to wear his military uniform everywhere and let’s see if people will not view him as being insane. Yeye. If Ali can’t wear customs’ uniform, then he should resign as there is no point leading an agency you can not identify with. Period.