Senate – Customs face-off: Hameed Ali in secret meeting with Saraki

Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali

The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali, Tuesday evening held a closed-door meeting with Senate President Bukola Saraki, hours after it appeared a showdown was imminent between the Senate and the retired army colonel.

“He (Mr. Ali) has come and gone,” a Senate President’s office insider told PREMIUM TIMES at 6:40 p.m.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Ali had written the Senate, notifying the lawmakers of his intention not to appear before them as scheduled because he had to attend a customs management meeting slated for Wednesday, same day he was expected at the Senate.

But the lawmakers passed a resolution, reaffirming last Thursday’s decision that Mr. Ali must appear in uniform by 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

But afterwards, he wrote a second letter, this one directly to Mr. Saraki, spokespersons for the Senate President confirmed.

The Cable exclusively reported the content of the second letter which informed the Senate President of the decision to review the policy on vehicles without duty payment, but recommended legal opinion on the compulsion to wear uniform to appear before the Senate.

The Cable reported, quoting Mr. Ali’s letter: “May (I) respectfully refer to your letter dated 9 March and inform Your Excellency that the decision on payment of customs duties by vehicle owners who do not have them as prescribed by law is currently being reviewed. The goal of the review is to take a broad additional input from the stakeholders and the public. I will welcome the opportunity to avail the senate of our findings.

“Regarding to wearing of uniform, I wish to advice that the senate avails itself of the legal basis of its decision to compel me to wear uniform. I am similarly taking legal advice on this issue so that both the senate and I will operate within the proper legal framework.”

The new development is strongly suggestive of Mr. Ali’s readiness to appear before the Senate tomorrow, but he is very unlikely to appear in uniform.

According to our source, the meeting with Mr. Saraki was to “water the ground” ahead of his appearance tomorrow.

“He will appear but he may not wear uniform,” said the source. “Then, as you can see he has said the service is reviewing the policy on duty payment.”

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari prevailed on Mr. Ali to appear before the Senate as scheduled, stressing that he does not want further executive-legislature friction.

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, declined comment on the president’s intervention.

But Customs’ spokesperson, Joseph Attah, informed PREMIUM TIMES that his principal was involved in “further communication” with senators about the stand-off.


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  • JOHN

    He must appear in Custom uniform if he is indeed Custom Comptroller General. How can he enforce the tradition of wearing uniform in Custom if he has no regard for customs uniform.

    • kinsly

      Mumu, why can’t you first read the law governing the Nigerian Customs service before coming here to blabb rubbish.

      • share Idea

        Please can you cite such law to the president that appointed someone that is not qualified to were Custom uniform when performing custom leadership functions

        • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

          U should cite such law that says :1he OS not qualified as appointed:2 he must wear a uniform. If show this man has preventing some illegalities by these rogues in the upper chamber.

          • Netanyahu

            Legalities are only by your mumuhari that wanted to go to war for asking him to present his o level certificate. He could have asked for it while in London from Cambridge that conducted o level exams then, not WAEC as he claimed.

          • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

            Mumuhari is the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, love by all except few idiotz like you, whose father or anybody in their clan cannot even win a single councillorship sit. A buhari who commanded the votes of about 20million people without yours is a mumuhari,you must be a real mumu. Idiota. Permit me remind you that,a buhari who has no certificate,waa a former governor,an army general,a former army school student in the US as confirmed by John Kerry, the formal secretary of state,who happened to be his former mate in the school. I wonder which hole you are crawling from,please crawl back. Goat.

          • Right

            Mr. why take Ali’s issues personal, are U is brother? Ali can as well ask other custom officers not to wear uniform and see the mayhem that will occur in our society. He should lead by example.

          • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

            Personal? For typing my mind?. By the way,should anybody that meant well be intimidated under our very watch while we pretend as if nothing happen and yet come back to complain of inactions in some critical sectors? Go and find out,this man has been stepping on some big toes,and business is no longer allowed as usual,hence the fake roaring of these evil ambassadors. Not personal atall just responding to some not too sensible people.

    • Right

      Thank u bro.

  • jason jasi

    Since he was publicly invited, why have a closed door meeting aimed at mediation or whatever with him prior to the date he’s been summoned to appear? One party here is either livid or on the wrong side of the law.

  • Isi Agwo

    Turn the ape back if he arrives the National Assembly without Customs uniform. Fulanis think Nigeria is their ranch/toilet.

    • kinsly

      Complete empty brain, just like your name suggests.

    • pheliciti

      Ape!? Yet its racist to call you same…

    • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

      Goat!

  • Dazmillion

    Is the man ashamed of customs uniform? I mean the uniform that makes one look fat and totally corrupt.

    • PolyGon2013

      And because he is not corrupt, he does not want to appear in a corrupt uniform.

      • paul irumundomon

        What do you mean he is not corrupt, the only Nigerians not corrupt are those who have not have access to CBN

        • PolyGon2013

          I am being sarcastic jare.

          • paul irumundomon

            Got you.

      • Harry

        but he is proudly the head of a corrupt organisation

        • PolyGon2013

          I am being sarcastic my friend.

  • Otile

    What kind of thugs did Buhari hire to rule Nigeria? Buratai is there thumbing his nose at us, now comes Alhaji Hameed Alibaba. Nigeria needs to divide, Islamic thugs in power are taking the country to hell in a hand basket.

    • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

      E dyotic response as usual. Look man,you reason like you have no brain or possibly being contaminated by the consumption of Fanta and vitamin c. Somebody is ready to do a work and another somebody is ready to prevent him. You are here praising somebody who prevents. We don’t need people so carlous and not objective like selfish you again.

      • Otile

        We don’t blame the bragging_fool, we blame the certificate forger who put him there for no other reason than being a Northern Muslim. What value has the braggart added since his tribesman put him there?

        • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

          I forgot,yes I forgot. You only open your mouth to talk or type with your fingers without the intelligent part of your brain in order. “Certificate forger” says who? The disgraced Jonathan,?,or the dead PDP? No wonder why you continue to run when no one is after you,or better still chased by your shadow. I am not interested in attacking your tribe or your faith. But your out put shows where you belong and your stuff.

    • paul irumundomon

      He hired people like him, how many supreme Court orders, is out there, that mean anything to buhari and apc members, banana republic. They will test their power on him tomorrow, let him wear his native and go to the senate, he did not have to even involve his lawers. To tell you how arrogant Nigerians are, just to wear a uniform, this man wore in all his career, it has become a problem.

  • TC

    We should be a nation of laws not edicts, if it’s a requirement for him to wear uniform then he needs to comply but if it’s not clearly stated in “LAW” then that’s disrespectful to compel him. Let’s stop shouting he should wear uniform when it’s not required, reason critically before we blurt and risk sounding elementary…..geez people.

    • I did it 4 Love

      true talk, very simple.

    • pheliciti

      And in all of this, we leave the important issue of customs duty recovery…. we major mainly on the minor

  • Gary

    The good news for me is that a mellow President Buhari told Col. Ali to respect the senate summons.
    Hopefully this a sign that the President is focusing on building an enduring legacy that will let history say he made the country better than he met it. He does not need people who show a callous disregard for public opinion and progress around him anymore.

    • Incircle

      @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

      Muhamadu Buhari is a mess and a disgrace
      rolled into one. In two months’ time both he and the accused criminal
      Bukola Saraki will be breaking bread and clinking glasses inside the
      presidential villa to celebrate the 2nd year of their heinous and crooked
      regime. It rankles as though a Commissioner of Police clinks glasses with a
      notorious thief in the neighbourhood to celebrate Police Day. No matter how
      Buhari wants to rationalize it the continuous presence of Bukola Saraki as
      Senate president made Nigerians hold their noses at the Buhari government

      as a huge stench of lies, deceit and dishonesty. Buhari can’t credibly say he’s
      fighting corruption at noon and then having dinner with Bukola Saraki at dusk.

      • Keen Observer

        100% agreed with you Gary. The fact that Saraki & Dogara are still walking around free & as senate president / speaker of the house shows that PMB’s anti corruption regime is SELECTIVE hence like PDP still regards some people in govt as sacred cows (the untouchables). And this is a discredit to Buhari’s govt & APC generally.

  • paul irumundomon

    He think, Nigeria of yesterday years, is ame today, where those who can’t spell the name of their primary schools, based on what they are best at, change legitimatr/democratic governmemt when they so desire.
    Buhari don’t have to come in between, let’s see, the power that he posses, compared to that of the senate. Come into the senate floor, and tell the senators, they do not have the power to compel you, on how they would want to see you dress, representing the Nigeria customs.

  • Solomon Brown

    What does it matter if he chooses to wear or not wear a uniform? I do find it amusing the senate fighting over dress codes and what not. How about we roll out a new dress code for members of the Senate? No more 100,000 flowing robes and do away with all the jewelry, roll your sleeves up and get to doing the real job you were elected for. Stop dwelling on the trivial stuff, pass laws that better the life of the common man.

    • Psalm 35

      It matters. Learn to properly use your discernment to tell when the NASS is fighting for Nigerians like they currently are; yes many of them may be rogues but this time they are standing with Nigerians in their fight against this inhumane policy. How would you describe a policy payment that can cost you more than the cost of the vehicle itself ? He has been asked several times to review it by major stakeholders but he has refused, can you now see him offering to review it because he was compelled to wear a uniform – is that how irritating the uniform is to him. But in the same vein, he enjoys the top position, one of the most prestigious and biggest cash cows of a position in the country. It tells you the arrogance with which an average military man sees himself, his khaki uniform is the ultimate and everything else is inferior to his. He is the CG of Customs so he should be proud of the uniform especially as its topmost boss. Nigerians are with the Senators on this, he must be compelled to wear the uniform of the organisation he represents just like every other CG before him and be made to appear and justify the reasoning behind the rebate policy – which I am sure he can’t because most of these guys lack the intellectual and articulate depth to even explain the most basic of government policies. Shame

      • Solomon Brown

        I’d love to see less drama about what outfit he wants to appear in, and a lot more about what he is being summoned for, I agree with you the senators have the power by law to make him appear in a garb they deem fit, only if it is the LAW.
        It is trivial to be throwing a fit about his outfit, when the meat here as you put it, is about the rebate policy, we should learn to view things in perspective and not get too emotional about the small stuff. That’s all I am saying.