The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, was at the Senate yesterday evening.
He has written a second letter to the lawmakers hinting that he would seek legal advice on the decision of the upper chamber to compel him to wear customs uniform.
Dressed in a long white shirt, with black shoes and a cap to match, Ali, who arrived at the Senate at exactly 5.30 pm was accompanied by the chairman of the Committee on Customs Affairs, Hope Uzodinma.
He first went to the office of the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawal. A few minutes later, Ali entered the Senate President’s office along with Lawal and Uzodinma.
The meeting at Saraki’s office ended at 6.38 p.m when the Senate president left. The subject matter of the closed door meeting was not made public, but it was learnt that the invitation of Ali by the lawmakers to appear before them in uniform was the issue.
Ali later met briefly with a former governor of Kano State, Kabiru Gaya. At 6.49 p.m, Gaya and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Solomon Ita-Enang accompanied Ali out of the Senate building.
The customs boss came in a black Peugeot 508 saloon car with registration number HQ 89 CS. After the Senate rejected a request to shift the date for Ali’s appearance from today, the Customs boss wrote another letter in which he disclosed that he had already began to seek legal advice over the insistence that he should wear Customs uniform.
The Customs boss also asked the Senate to avail itself of the legal basis for its insistence that he wears uniform. Ali disclosed that the policy on payment of customs duties by vehicle owners who do not have them as prescribed by law is already being reviewed.
The second letter, which did not make any reference to the first one read on the floor of the Senate earlier yesterday, reads: “May I respectfully refer to your letter dated 9 March, 2017 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 wearing of uniform, I wish to advise 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 frame work.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has given all its standing committees one week to present and defend the 2017 budget reports of Ministries, Departments, Agencies of Government (MDAs) under them before the committee on appropriation.