The Senate yesterday resolved to arrest Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, if he fails to appear before it today to clarify on the policy on duty payment on all vehicles.
Members of the Red Chamber in the National Assembly unanimously passed a motion to issue a warrant of arrest on the Customs boss at their plenary on Wednesday.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki had insisted on Tuesday during plenary session that Ali must appear before the senate in uniform yesterday, consequent upon which the Customs boss paid an unscheduled visit to the senate president in his office at the National Assembly complex at about 5:35pm on Tuesday.
In the motion passed yesterday, Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), relied on Section 88 of the 1999 constitution ( as amended).
His motion was seconded by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
Adopting the motion, the senate said the NCS boss must appear before it at plenary today by 10am and that if he fails to do so, it would be compelled to issue a warrant for his arrest.
The Red Chamber noted that, while the action taken could have been avoided if each institution had respect for the other, its action is an indication that nobody was above the law.
The Senate pointed out that government was not just about making money, but about the welfare of the people and that the upper legislative chamber must move against anyone or institution that attempts to rubbish it as an institution.
The Senate also asked the Customs boss to retract his statement that the issue raised on the duty was unnecessary tension.
Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye tried to amend the motion by Sekibo but his colleagues stopped him, as he was shouted down, forcing him to withdraw his secondment.
Accordingly, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion.
Custom Bows To Pressure, Halts Payments Of Custom Duties
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended the proposed duty payment on all vehicles across the nation, following what appears to be pressure from the Senate and other concerned stakeholders.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Attah, said the exercise was suspended, following unnecessary tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentations created on the planned motor duty payment.
The statement noted: “The leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.
“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004 should be put on hold while the Senate Committee on Customs & Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions”.