SENATE, CUSTOMS FACE OFF: Ali Backs Down, Begs Saraki

PIX: Hameed Ali, Customs CG

Hameed Ali, Customs CG

In what appears a truce in the lingering superiority battle between the Senate and the Nigeria Customs Service, the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The Comptroller-General, who arrived the National Assembly complex at about 5.30 p.m., was first received by the Leader of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan.

He then went into a closed-door session with Saraki.

The Customs boss later left the complex in the company of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, at about 6.49 p.m.

Sources close to the National Assembly revealed that Ali made the hasty visit to avert what would have been his undoing as the Senate was prepared to push through its demand.

Feelers from the presidency also indicated that the Customs boss was asked to comply with the Senate's request as his action is threatening the new good relationship existing between the executive and legislature.

The Senate on Tuesday at plenary session insisted that Ali must appear before it in uniform on today.

This followed the receipt of a letter from Ali stating that he would not appear on Wednesday.

An Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Azarema Abdulkadir, had written to the Clerk of the Senate requesting that the upper chamber gives the Comptroller-General a new date to appear before it.

The Senate had on March 9 asked Ali to appear in plenary session in uniform on Wednesday to address the issues of retrospective payment of duty on vehicles.

The letter was read by the Clerk, Mr Nelson Ayewoh, to the senators at plenary session.

It stated that Wednesday coincided with the fortnightly meeting of the NCS management.