The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali,
Tuesday evening held a closed-door meeting with Senate President
Bukola Saraki, hours after it appeared a showdown was imminent between
the Senate and the retired army colonel.
“He (Mr. Ali) has come and gone,” a Senate President’s office insider
told PREMIUM TIMES at 6:40 p.m.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Ali had written the Senate, notifying the
lawmakers of his intention not to appear before them as scheduled
because he had to attend a customs management meeting slated for
Wednesday, same day he was expected at the Senate.
But the lawmakers passed a resolution, reaffirming last Thursday’s
decision that Mr. Ali must appear in uniform by 10:30 a.m. on
Wednesday.
But afterwards, he wrote a second letter, this one directly to Mr.
Saraki, spokespersons for the Senate President confirmed.
The Cable exclusively reported the content of the second letter which
informed the Senate President of the decision to review the policy on
vehicles without duty payment, but recommended legal opinion on the
compulsion to wear uniform to appear before the Senate.
The Cable reported, quoting Mr. Ali’s letter: “May (I) respectfully
refer to your letter dated 9 March and inform Your Excellency that the
decision on payment of customs duties by vehicle owners who do not
have them as prescribed by law is currently being reviewed. The goal
of the review is to take a broad additional input from the
stakeholders and the public. I will welcome the opportunity to avail
the senate of our findings.
“Regarding to wearing of uniform, I wish to advice that the senate
avails itself of the legal basis of its decision to compel me to wear
uniform. I am similarly taking legal advice on this issue so that both
the senate and I will operate within the proper legal framework.”

The new development is strongly suggestive of Mr. Ali’s readiness to
appear before the Senate today, but he is very unlikely to appear
in uniform.
According to our source, the meeting with Mr. Saraki was to “water the
ground” ahead of his appearance tomorrow.
“He will appear but he may not wear uniform,” said the source. “Then,
as you can see he has said the service is reviewing the policy on duty
payment.”

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