If Hameed Ali ends smuggling, he can appear before Senate in “Jeans and Shirt” – Saraki

Senate president, Bukola Saraki (L) with Comptroller-General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali (R)

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday directed a jocular remark at the Comptroller-General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali, saying the latter could be allowed to appear before the Senate for official engagement in casualwear, if he was able to end smuggling.

“To the Comptroller General of Customs, let me say on a lighter note, that once you end smuggling, even if you want to wear jeans and T-Shirt, I will move the motion that you should wear jeans and T-Shirt,” said Mr. Saraki. “But on a serious note, this issue is very important. Let us all work towards ending this menace once and for all.”

Mr. Saraki spoke at the public hearing on tackling smuggling by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Thursday.

At the hearing, he exchanged pleasantries with Mr. Ali, who had brushed aside the Senate’s resolution he wear official customs uniform to attend its hearing in March.

According to the Senate President, smuggling constitutes the “greatest threat” to the economic diversification drive of the Buhari administration.

“The singular greatest threat to the delivery of the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari on the diversification of the economy is this issue of smuggling,” the Senate President said.

He continued: “The level of smuggling that we are seeing cannot continue because they will definitely rubbish all the policies of government if allowed to go on. I am saying that with all sincerity and all level of responsibility and I tell you why.

“Today, the greatest threat to small holder farmers is smuggling. Today, rice farmers who have gone to take loans either from the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) or from commercial banks are being threatened by rice coming in from across the borders at highly subsidised rate.”

“The meaning of that is that the imported rice will always be cheaper than those produced by our local farmers. A time will come, if we do not do anything, that these farmers will not be able to pay their loans to the banks and this will result in serious crisis. The banks that have given loans to these farmers, will also have crisis in their hands. And for the Central Banks that has intervened with billions of Naira again will not be able to recoup their money.”

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, Hope Uzodinma, earlier said that the public hearing was part of the committee’s holistic investigation into the operations of the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme, CISS with a view to identify the factors responsible for increasing the rate of smuggling of goods into the country.

He said the exercise was also aimed at proffering solutions to the menace of smuggling and recommend appropriate penalties to be visited on perpetrators.


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  • Du Covenant

    In normal societies, farming is a decent way to earn an excellent livelihood but, not in Nigeria because of smugglers,greedy elite and incompetent leaders. Serious countries do not allow even green leaves of any sort into there countries to protect local biodiversity for a number of reasons. Because we such an ignorant bunch of people we leave our doors open to everything under the sun. Why do boast of all the universities in the land and all those phony educated lliterates?

  • Opekete

    If the senate realize this in the first instance why are they so much concerned about the outfit of the Comptroller General? This is the worst class of senate in the history of Nigeria. The head is rotten and the whole body is now stinking to the extent that the whole nation is getting sick from their activities.

  • Yego V

    Rubbish. Your demands speaks volumes of what you people are made of in the senate. Of all the problems confronting the nation, yours was about dressing. You would rather Hameed smuggles some foreign uniform and wear to your hearing than for him to appear in his usual khaftan. How in the world would a dress affect ones performance. God forbid these crop of senators. Regarding smuggling; sadly the senators are the greatest smugglers. They would evade tariffs on all their imported cars, plane and house hold items, then turn around to blame Ali. Let Saraki explain why he is denying the purchase of a Land Rover Range Rover, other than the fact that he was exposed for not paying the appropriate clearing fees.

  • Sword of Damocles

    i love studying body language, especially when the public has a real idea as to the relationship between the protagonists. In the picture above Col Hameed is looking at Saraki like he is a POS (igbe), a small boi trying to play the alpha male power game ( a game refined in the Nigerian Army). Saraki looks cowed in the picture, and his retort about mufti is GOOFY(intimidation will do that to a man). methinks he needs to change his depends(nappy) oh oh….

  • OGK

    The whole world has now seen what this hypocrite of a person this Saraki is. He was talking about stopping smuggling, yet you were involved and took a kangaroo committee to exonerate you. His involvement in corruption knows no bounds, yet he would come out to lambast sleaze in the country. Made me remember Abacha who was jailing bankers, yet he too was busy stealing the country blind. Saraki is Nigeria’s greatest ostrich.