Senate asks Ali, Customs boss to quit, says unfit to hold office

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By Joseph INOKOTONG with agency report
The Senate, on Wednesday, declared the embattled Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), unfit to hold any public office.
It also called for his resignation and cancellation of the retrospective policy on duties for vehicles. The Senate made the declaration after the Customs CG failed to appear before it.
The clerk of the Senate read a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Alhaji Mohammed Malami, advising the Senate to step down the matter of the invitation of the Customs CG, as the matter is in court and deliberating on it would be sub-judice.
The letter elicited strong reactions from lawmakers, who after a closed-door session, where they brainstormed on the issue, accused the AGF of incompetence and flaming division between the National Assembly and the Presidency.
Ali first angered the lawmakers by refusing to wear his Service uniform and later decided not to appear before them.
However, the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, had on Tuesday announced a code number for efficient and effective vehicle duty clearance verification.
He said that the organisation had taken further step to ensure that Nigerians, who wanted to verify the authenticity of their customs duty clearance, could do so at the comfort of their homes with the use of their mobile phones.
According to him: “For effective and easy customs duty clearance verification, you can dial or send SMS to these numbers 094621597 with your vehicle C-number, the year you paid the duty and the port or location where the vehicle came through into the country.
“Immediately all that information is given, just in five minutes you will get a response whether your vehicle duty clearance is genuine or not.’’
He said the essence of the numbers was to ensure stress free verification, to motor dealers and innocent Nigerian vehicle owners.
According to him, for easy traffic flow, the last number which is 7 in the digits 094621597 can be either changed to 8 or 9, to get response faster with different customs personnel on duty at every point in time.
It would be recalled that the senate had asked the Nigerian Customs Service to put on hold its proposed plan to collect duties on all vehicles in the country, including old ones.
The senate noted that it was ideal that Customs dropped the move until its Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali appeared before it, to explain the idea behind the collection of the old duties.
The Nigeria Customs had in a statement from its Acting Public Relations Officer, Joseph Atta, told owners of vehicles, who did not pay Customs duty to do so between March 13 and April 12.