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Senate Issues Warrant Compelling Customs Chief Hameed Ali To Appear Before It On Thursday

Colonel Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
Colonel Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)

The Senate has resolved to issue a warrant compelling the Comptroller- General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, to appear before it at plenary.

The decision of the Senate followed a motion by Senator George Sekibo that the senate should employ the provision of section 89 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The motion was moved following the failure of the Ali to appear before the senate on Wednesday as invited by the upper legislative chambers.

The motion which was seconded by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, was ruled upon by the Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The Senate in accordance with section 89 of the 1999 constitution has amended, resolved to compel the Comptroller General of Custosm to appear before the Senate on Thursday 16 of March during the plenary at 10 am,’’ Saraki ruled.

Section 89 of the constitution gives the National Assembly and its committees the power to investigate and invite any Nigerian over an investigation.

Ali on Tuesday wrote the senate twice, explaining that he would be unable to honour the invitation to appear during the plenary on Wednesday.

In the first letter signed by a staff of the NCS, Ali said that the date coincided with the monthly management meeting of the Customs Service.

The letter infuriated the Senators who viewed it as an affront and a slap on the institution and therefore restated their stance that Ali must appear on Wednesday.

The decision of the senate apparently prompted the second letter from the Custom General in which he pleaded for an extension of date because he was bereaved.

However, when the second letter was read on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday as the reason for the CG’s absence at the plenary, many of the senators were further infuriated.

Senator Kabir Marafa, in his remarks said that he was against anybody who would attempt to rubbish the institution of the Senate or any institution for that matter.

He said that the letters written by the CG was an affront on the National Assembly and was wrong for a military officer, who should be grounded in discipline to disrespect the institution of the Senate.

Citing section 89 of the constitution, Sekibo said that it was now the duty of the Senate to direct the CG to honour the invitation.

This Senate should use the processes of section 89 to compel the CG to appear tomorrow the 16th of March, he said.

An attempt by the Chief Whip of the Senate, Olusola Adeyeye, to amend the motion to issue an arrest warrant was shouted down by the lawmakers who chanted “No’’.

The Senate had summoned Ali to appear before it, in his full Customs regalia, but the CG said he would not wear the uniform.

However, a source told This Day that Buhari has cautioned his appointees to avoid any confrontations with the legislature that would pit it against the executive.

In this regard, the president was said to have directed Ali to honour the Senate’s summons to prevent an escalation of the stand-off between both sides.

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