The Nigerian senate has asked the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), Hameed Ali, to resign over his refusal to wear the agency’s uniform.
Also on Wednesday, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, wrote the senate explaining that Ali could not appear before it because the matter of whether he should wear the uniform or not was before a court.
The resolutions of the upper legislative chamber asking Ali to resign was sealed after a motion moved by Enyinnaya Abaribe, a senator representing Abia South.
The customs boss and the senate have been engaged in a power show in recent weeks after the senate ordered Ali to appear before it to explain its recent vehicle duty policy. A policy which was only last week suspended.
The senators also ordered Hameed Ali, a retired army colonel, to appear in the uniform of the customs. Mr Ali however continuously refused to appear in the Uniform of the Nigeria customs ,prompting the senate to turn him back and insist that he reappear in uniform.
However, the Customs boss had said he won’t appear before the senate citing a pending court case.
Reacting to his non-appearance today, lawmakers said Ali’s refusal to show up because of the letter the clerk of the Senate received from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami directing the lawmakers to leave Ali alone because the matter was in court amounted to interference in its duties.
In the lead debate, Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye said the letter was an affront.
According to Melaye, “What we heard from the Attorney General is an insult.
“How can the Attorney General that we screened in the House tell us how to carry out our duty. This is the first time in the history of black Africa that the attorney general is telling the Senate what to do.
“This is not an injunction but a mere court process by a third party that ran to court and the attorney general wants us to stop our work.
“Our rule says that a matter is already in court cannot be discussed here but not that a matter on our floor, an individual quickly ran to court … haba!”
The lawmaker stated that based on the provisions of the Customs Act and the Pension Reforms Act, Ali was too old to hold a public office because he was above 60 years old and had worked in public service for over 35 years.
He said: “Hameed Ali is above 60. He is not qualified to hold the position of the Customs Comptroller General.
“Abaribe moved that Ali be declared unfit and told to resign.”