The senate has asked Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria customs service (NCS) to reappear before it on Wednesday, March 22, in customs uniform.
The senate, presided by Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, took a voice vote on Ali’s refusal to appear in uniform, and many voted against listening to him on policies, until he appeared in uniform.
Ali Wakili, senator representing Bauchi South, took side with Ali, asking the senate to temper justice with mercy and proceed “with the matters at hand”.
But George Sekibo, representative of Rivers east, said Ali must reappear before the senate, dressed in uniform.
Magnus Abe, senator representing Rivers south-east, asked Ali to honour the request of the senate and don his uniform, in order to preserve the image of NCS and other government institutions of such nature.
Ali was not given the opportunity to explain the controversial policy on customs duties, which was the major reason for his invitation to the house.
Customs had given owners of vehicles, which duties had not been paid, a deadline of April 12, for payment, threatening to prosecute those who do not comply with its directive.
“The comptroller-general of customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) has approved a grace period of one month, between Monday 13th March to Wednesday 12th April 2017 for owners of all vehicles within the country whose customs duty has not been paid to do so,” Joseph Attah, NCS’ spokesman, had said in a statement.
The policy was later reversed, but the lawmakers still insisted on summoning Ali.