Senate orders Ali, Customs boss arrested

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The Senate has agreed to issue warrant of arrest to compel the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), retired Col. Hammed Ali, to appear before it on Thursday,

The senate unanimously passed the motion at their plenary on Wednesday.

The decision of the Senate came at the time that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) suspended the implementation of its policy for duty payments on old vehicles.

The Customs service said that the suspension was placed in order to resolve issues with the Senate Committee on Customs.

The Acting Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, said Wednesday in Abuja that the Management of Customs had directed that the exercise be put on hold and expressed its readiness to engage the Senate Committee on further discussions.

He said that the essence was to bring the Senate on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.

“Following the tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation of the NCS planned motor duty payment, 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 and Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions.

“Payment of duty on vehicles or any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian,’’ Attah said.

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NAN reports that recently, the comptroller-general approved one month grace for all Nigerian vehicle owners who have not paid duties to do so or face outright seizure of the vehicles.

And this applies even to new vehicles bought from car dealers.

The service gave a window of one month, from March 13 to April 12, for car owners to pay the appropriate duty on their vehicles.

The public relations officer said that some owners of vehicles brought into the country through the land borders, obviously, did not pay duty.

Unconfirmed reports say the presidency may have waded into the crisis between the Nigerian Customs Service and the Senate to avoid a showdown.

The Senate had summoned Ali to appear before it, in his full Customs regalia, but the CG said he would not wear the uniform.

Buhari, a source in the presidency told This Day, has cautioned his appointees to avoid any confrontations with the legislature that would pit it against the executive.

In this regard, the president was said to have directed Ali to honour the Senate’s summons to prevent an escalation of the stand-off between both sides.

Ali had written to the Senate informing it that he would not be able to honour the summons, as he was due to attend a fortnightly meeting of the NCS management.

Source – NAN

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