Friday, March 10, 2017


10th March, 2017

The Nigerian Senate yesterday ordered the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Hammed Ali, to appear before it “in uniform” and threatened to sack him if he does not obey its order on the suspension of collection of duties on old vehicles.   

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply worried by this development. Senate appears to be engaging in parliamentary recklessness and flexing muscles unnecessarily. It is sheer massaging of parliamentary ego, witch-hunting and profiling.

What has the wearing of custom uniform by the custom’s boss got to do with the performance of his duty? What is wrong if the custom’s boss takes salutes in mufti? Don’t we have officials who receive salutes from the military, the police, etc in mufti? Has it occurred to Senate that the custom’s boss is a retired army officer? Why is Senate leaving the substance to chase the shadow?

What is important to Nigerians is service delivery. Some Senators appear interested in humiliating people appointed by the present administration on the basis of their pedigree. What does the custom’s boss appearance in uniform mean to Nigerians?

There have been reports of great improvement in the performance of customs at the borders since Hammed Ali took over. Startling discoveries have been made. Dangerous goods like weapons which should not be allowed into the country have been seized on many occasions. Is Senate not pleased with these achievements?

Senate’s order to the custom’s boss for the stoppage of the collection of duties on old vehicles stands logic on its head. Is Senate not interested in boosting income at the nation’s borders? This order seems strange coming at a time when government needs every kobo it can generate for effective running of the country. How many people are bringing new cars into the country? This is a tall order. It must be rescinded.

The order is also suspicious because somebody somewhere may have vested interest in bringing old vehicles into the country and he wants to bring them in gratis! The Nigerian Senate should not allow itself to be used for undermining the nation’s economy. This will be most unpatriotic.    

Is Senate envious of the rising profile of the custom’s boss? Or is it a manifestation of the well-known pull him down syndrome (Ph.D)? Nigerians should note where Senate is coming from. There has been no love lost between Senate and the executive arm of government since the commencement of the war against corruption particularly since top echelons of the National Assembly were involved.

MURIC advises Senate to desist from frustrating the executive arm and its operatives. It amounts to arm-twisting. Nobody should test the will of the Nigerian people. They know what is going on. Senate’s bashing of men of integrity appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari for the purpose of intimidating them and rubbishing the executive arm of government should stop forthwith. Senate should not join corruption in its avowed fight-back.

As we round up, we advise Senate to create harmony between the NASS and the executive for the smooth running of government, economic progress and political stability. It is better to address the tangential than to focus on the peripheral. It will not get us anywhere. Nigerians are interested in performance and not whether the custom’s boss wears any uniform.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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