Why I will not appear before Nigerian Senate – Hameed Ali

Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali

Hameed Ali, the Comptroller-General of Customs, said on Tuesday that he will not appear before the Senate as summoned last week.

Senators had last week Thursday asked Mr. Ali to appear before them in Customs uniform for questioning no later than Wednesday, this week.

The request is part of a lingering dogfight between the Customs boss and lawmakers over issues bordering on Customs operations across the country, especially on the recent policy regarding vehicle papers.

Mr. Ali was sent away from the Senate chambers last week when he turned up to answer the questions, because he failed to appear in uniform as directed.

But Mr. Ali said Tuesday afternoon that the matter had become a subject of judicial intervention and honouring the summons could prove prejudicial.

“The case is in court already. Somebody has sued us. I have gotten my writ of summons and they said status quo ante should remain; which means nothing should be done until the court makes a pronouncement,” the Customs boss told reporters in the State House.

“A private individual sued all of us; he wants an interpretation of the section that is in contention,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Mr. Ali as saying. “I don’t want to talk so that I am not held in contempt of court.”

Similarly, Joseph Attah, NCS spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening that Mr. Ali will not be honouring the mandatory appearance which senators issued to him last week.

Consequently, the instruction that Mr. Ali must appear in uniform will also be discarded, Mr. Attah said.

Mr. Attah said Mr. Ali’s decision not to appear before the Senate on Wednesday was based on a written instruction from the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

He said Mr. Malami was acting based on a writ of summons filed by a lawyer in Abuja.

The lawyer, identified as Mohammed Ibrahim, dragged Mr. Ali, the Senate, the Attorney General and the Nigerian government before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, seeking judicial intervention in the ongoing controversy about Mr. Ali’s refusal to wear Customs uniform.

Mr. Attah said Mr. Ali “just received a written advice from the Attorney-General’s office urging all parties to stay action on the matter.”

The spokesman further stated that, “based on that new development,” Mr. Ali “will not be appearing before the Senate tomorrow.”

He said the Senate was also copied in the advice issued by Mr. Malami for all parties to stay action.

In his suit, Mr. Ibrahim asked the court to clarify if there is any legal basis for Senate’s demand that Mr. Ali must appear before it in uniform.

PREMIUM TIMES saw a copy of the court filing Tuesday evening.

Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. His number indicated it was switched off.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General was not available for comments Tuesday evening.

Mr. 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 Wednesday.

Earlier this month, he told the lawmakers he was not appointed to wear uniform, in an apparent response to their request that he must appear in appropriate uniform.

Mr. Ali’s supporters have argued that he was not a career Customs official and had already worn the uniform of the Nigerian Army where he rose to be a colonel and thus could not wear the uniform of a para-military agency like the Customs.

But PREMIUM TIMES’ findings revealed last week that one of Mr. Ali’s predecessors, Bello Haliru, wore uniform despite being appointed outside the service.

Our findings also showed that Haladu Hananiya, a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, wore the agency’s uniform even though his appointment came years after he retired as a major general in the Nigerian Army.

But Mr. Attah said Nigerians should look at Mr. Ali’s performance since he took charge of Customs nearly two years ago rather than focusing on uniform.

“He was appointed to restructure, reform and raise revenue for the country and he has been found to have performed greatly,” he told PREMIUM TIMES last week.


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  • AFRICANER

    This Ali guy must appear in front of the Senate, even if it is to state some right of refusal to testify. He has a mandatory summons to appear, and if he refuses to appear, he should be arrested and brought in via a bench warrant.

    • Bello Sule

      I think you are free to go and effect the arest since it bothers you that much.

    • tundemash

      Mr. AFRICAN LIAR, did Ali say he won;t appear? Was he not there 2 days ago ? Stop commenting when you are high on cheap drugs.

  • uOkwunna

    Who can say that Nigeria is not a Zoo, a politically appointed servant is now playing hide and seek game with national legislative body thereby subjecting the elected legislators to ridicule and contempt by using court injunction to exhibit his pomposity and disrespect .
    Anything can go in Nigeria after-all Nigeria is been ruled by vacuum, the president since he returned on 10th and took over on 13th March he was in office for only less that 3hours.

  • Otile

    Who is not tired of this born-to-misrule arrogance? This is disgusting.

  • Gary

    No court can overrule an invitation of the National Assembly as thst will be an infringement of the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.
    If Mr. Ali is ignorant of the law, surely his agency has competent lawyers who should have advised him from ridiculing himself with this hare-brained statement.
    Ignorance is indeed a very grave disease and it’s shameful that this man actually rose to Golonel in the Nigerian Army.

    • Michael

      The court is not being asked to overrule the invitation of the senate but whether there is a requirement that he wears uniform. Did you even bother to read this article?

    • tundemash

      wow ! Are u struggling with comprehension or you just lack ability to read ?

      Clearly it is stated in this news report :

      “In his suit, Mr. Ibrahim asked the court to clarify if there is any legal basis for Senate’s demand that Mr. Ali must appear before it in uniform.”

      So where is Mr. Ibrahim complaining about overruling invitation to the National Assembly in this? And yet ignoramus like you are the loudest on this forum and yet you can’t read properly nor understand simple English.

      • Gary

        E-rat, is the wearing of a uniform not ordinarily required of the CG of the Customs Service? So what is the intent of this frivolous lawsuit other than to evade a valid invitation and order of the National Assembly? You need a law degree or ruling from the Bench to figure this out? Pity.

        • tundemash

          Cl0wn, first of all admit you can’t read or you struggle with comprehension as the court case wasn’t about Hammed Ali not appearing as you insinuated in your first submission.
          And now you claimed “is the wearing of a uniform not ordinarily required of the CG of the Customs Service?” … my question to you is, is that an assumption or you read it in his contract ????
          If the suit is frivolous, let the judge determine that and that “frivolous suit” is set to determine if Hammed Alli or any CG of Customs is compelled to wear uniform so why are you worried or scared that a Nigerian, instead of wailing online like you, has decided to approach court to determine that ???? Olodo ! Unfortunately you are not educated enough to be a judge.

  • Invictus

    I dey laugh o… hehehe. Oga Alibaba wants top customs job but not the uniform! Only in Nigeria you see this sort of nonsensical attitudes and utter irresponsibility. His refusal to wear the uniform makes one wonders why he accepted the job since he felt the customs uniform will berate his military career. He better resign or wear the uniform Sharp sharp and stop behaving like agbero! Talk about dog eating uts own sh*t.

  • FEMI A USA

    For some people need to think clearly. Is it uniform that is matter or the person and competency to do the job. 2. Is it your fiancé dressing is important or the love to you. Give it a deep thought please.

    • Factsay

      Pls ask nurses and policemen

  • Rev Felix Ulor (Ph)

    This issue has brought to fore the huge gap between morality and legality. The citizenry are the uninformed spectators. The custom have said this issue bothers on vengeance over some imported vehicles that were denied undue wavers due to the high profile (therefore financially capable) nature of the owners of such vehicles. The Senate have also said Mr, sorry o (Retd Col) Ali is being cocky because he was once a “big man” in the army and now belongs to the top echelon of his boss and which invariably makes him untouchable. Now assuming his claims against the Senate are true, then the Senate must be told that since they want to go the snipper’s way, there is no law that makes his uniform wearing a binding part if his assignment. But for Col Ali, considering the unspoken effect of his actions I want to say these:-
    1. Is the Army so superior to the customs that their uniform is now considered a demotion to either a serving or Retd Col? Or are we in a NEO-MILITARY GOVT?
    2. We must be careful not to inadvertently send off the feeling that a tribe/some individuals are superior to the rest of other tribes/individuals…will our disciplined president have taken this from an ordinary or another person?
    3. This is not a battle of persons but institutions. He must consider the sacredness of the Senate institution even though it’s unfortunate we have people who morally may not be qualified to be there.
    4. As the youth, will anybody compel us to obey laws if we consider them not morally binding?
    5. “Children” are watching….The Senate have you in the jugular. Pls swallow the pride and ego for the sake of leaving sound and emulatable moral footmarks in the sands of our growing minds.
    ONE NIGERIA IS WHERE I AND MANY OTHER PEACE LOVING NIGERIANS STAND NO MATTER WHAT. HOWEVER, OUR LEADERS AND GOVERNMENTS MUST GIVE SOME OTHERS, THE REASONS TO BELIEVE IN ONE NIGERIA TOO.

    • KingLo

      Does the senate act in a sacred way for it to be considered so? At this point, it is not a fight about institutions, let us not lie to ourselves, this is simply big man vs big man. I also don’t really understand why the senate made it their business that he hasn’t been wearing uniform, don’t they have more important matters to legislate? If the law on wearing uniform is not binding, then all this is just a full on display of our crass stupidity.

      • Factsay

        Let all custom officers start wearing babariga and isi-agu. Hope Ali wont complain when his surbordinates start following his footsteps

        • tundemash

          Dunce, Hamed Ali is a political appointee, his sub-ordinates are career customs officer.

          • Factsay

            Bingo. Appointee wears uniform.

          • tundemash

            That is a personal decision of the appointee; Hameed Ali has chosen not to, you and your destiny looters can go and hang !

          • Factsay

            Kwarapt boy

          • tundemash

            Twat, is that all ? U have reached your wits’ end ? Till you get another topic to wail on, crawl back into teh hole you came from.

          • Mangana

            Gbam!!!!

      • Mangana

        Like they never saw his official fotos before now. He wear uniform inside? Mumus!! They should all lick their wounds…………cus the law is flawed and never tot about the future. The law guiding the wearing of uniform is not specific and never made mention of career officers. Likewise, its worthy to note that wearing of uniform will be optional but Ali can bend over backwards if there was courtesy and respect in manner of approach. But when you want to treat such matters like you knw too much – then the result is what we have today. The guy is a no nonsense man and he knws his onions. If u are a senator – does that make you go above the law by bringing in rice from land boarders or range rover with fake documents?

    • Mangana

      Lol, random broadcast.

  • We live in a funny country, Nigeria. Hameed Ali is quick to obey the court rulings. What a funny country. His principal and godfather, Muhammadu Buhari had never obeyed a single court ruling since his presidency. What a funny country.

    • tundemash

      George_Aba, what exact court ruling has Buhari not obeyed ?

  • Ewens Lawson

    Between morality and legality. Between Uniform and Performance. Between Frivolities and Substance. The Senate is a bunch of idiots and shameless criminals. Just tell me the meaning of all this noise? Uniform for a political CG means what? It’s improper for a non-career customs officer to even wear the uniform and rank…….Mr Dikko and Mr Gyang Buba were for CGs who emerged through the ranks to become CGs as career officers and there was never any argument about wearing uniform or not. Now, Mr Hamid Ali is a politician and not a career customs officer and since there is no such law mandating him to wear uniform, he is at liberty to do so. PT should also note that Brig. Ango did not wear uniform. Nobody, no institution will compel Ali to wear uniform.

  • Factsay

    Sponsored court process. Diversionary technique exhibition. Since when did Ali start obeying court orders talk less of a mere court process?

    • tundemash

      Even if it is sponsored, the man has done better than you, by going to court for an interpretation of the law so that we all can learn and be educated. Now compare his action to yours who wails here daily !

      • Factsay

        Hypocrite. When others use same court ur tune changes.

        • tundemash

          Can you cite an instance ? What a twat !

  • Fredodo1

    All these because of a seized jeep? This car was budgeted for; all costs included. Now seized because of non compliance and now they want the head of this man for it. Na wa o

    • Factsay

      Wetin b jeep? Let the man respect the legislative institution. He is so arrogant of himself as a former murderer

      • tundemash

        And it is within the realm of the legislative institution to determine what you wear ?

        • Factsay

          Customs does. All customs men wear uniform

          • tundemash

            Mor0n, Hammed Ali is a political appointee not a career Customs Officer. He reports to Minister of Finance who should query Hammed Alli if is mode of dressing violates his contract.

      • systematic

        the senate are they wearing uniform? so let them leave the man to do his job

        • Factsay

          Senate has no uniform. Customs have uniform and whoever works as customs man shud wear uniform or resign

      • Ade Omowest

        Which legislative institution are you talking of? The Senate that refused to respect itself, a Senate that cannot tell a Fraudulent Senate President to step aside? Nonsense.

        • Factsay

          Have Buhari step aside? Nigeria is fraudulent country

  • Igwe Bu Ike

    Arrogant!