Drama As Senate, Custom Chief Set For New Clash

Hammed Ibrahim Ali

THE Senate and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), are set to begin a fresh supremacy battle.

This time around the upper legislative chamber is accusing the custom chief of the breach of protocol while receiving its visiting delegation who visited as part of its oversight functions.

Arriving the Custom Headquarters, the Senate Ad- hoc Committee on Economic Waste in Nigeria, led by Senator Dino Melaye, were ushered into a conference room from where they would meet Mr. Ali.

Melaye later expressed observation over the way the Senate delegation was received by the Customs high command.

He said by protocol, the Customs chief was expected to come down from his office to welcome the committee members into the Custom premises.

He said the practice of ushering in the Senate delegation has been the practice with statutory bodies like Customs, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) and others over the years.

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“Before reading the prepared speech of the committee, let me make this small remark on what we have just observed here in form of breach of protocols.

“Mr. CG, rather than meeting us here at the conference room by way of courtesy, you supposed to have met us at the ground floor on arrival into the premises.

“That has been the practice of statutory bodies headed by Chief Executive Officers like you. Relevant Senate committees have over the years been accorded this by bosses of Immigration Service, Prison Service and others, making us to wonder why it was not so here today under your leadership.

“Therefore before proceeding further, on account of this observation, we want the Customs management to know that the presence of this committee before it implies that the Senate itself is before it to put things in order as regards the economic waste taking place in the Customs Service requiring the seriousness it deserves from you and the entire management,” Melaye noted.

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However, the Customs CG informed the Senate delegation that the agency has its own protocol that is different from other public establishments.

“We have our own protocol as regards receiving visitors like you. I don’t need to come downstairs to receive you just as nobody in the Senate or House of Representatives has ever come out to receive us anytime we visit the National Assembly,” Ali said.