The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday described the face-off between the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, and the Senate as a “mere distraction.”
Mr. Dogara, who stated this when he hosted newspaper editors in his office in Abuja, said the uniform is not supposed to be the main issue.
“The main issue is delivery,” he said, suggesting that Mr. Ali’s performance in office should be the focus.
The senate last week called for the resignation of Mr. Ali, saying he was unfit to hold any public office.
The senate’s decision followed Mr. Ali’s refusal to appear before the lawmakers in full customs uniform. A week before then, the lawmakers had turned Mr. Ali back after he appeared before them, but without the Customs uniform.
Mr. Ali’s problem with the senate started with a controversial customs policy on retroactive payment of duties on imported cars. Following the senate’s condemnation of the policy, the customs reversed it. But the lawmakers insisted Mr. Ali, a retired army colonel, appear before them.
The customs chief refused saying the matter was in court – filed by a private citizen – and there was a directive by the attorney general that both parties maintain the current status.
In its resolution last week, the Senate said it would ask the House of Representatives to concur with its decision.
On Tuesday, Mr. Dogara said the decision of the House of Representatives on the matter can only be decided at the plenary.
“I can’t speak for the House; the House will have to speak for itself through a resolution of the House.
“I cannot pre-judge what the outcome of the debate will be,” he said.
Mr. Dogara, however, said the Senate and House work closely as is necessary in a bicameral legislature.
He said Nigerians and the media should focus more on what the law states on the uniform controversy rather than on the stance of the Senate or Mr. Ali.