THE Senate yesterday invoked its Constitutional powers to compel the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to appear before it today.
Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) in a motion said the Senate as an institution should not join issues with individuals in the other arms of government, saying the issue was a Constitutional matter.
He therefore proposed based on the provisions of Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution that the Senate should compel Ali to appear before it today.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion, saying the matter was not -about the CG of Customs. It- about our people. It- about Nigerians and the law of our land”
All senators supported the motion.
Section 89 (c) of the constitution provides that the two chambers of the National Assembly shall have power to -summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions”
Subsection (d) also provides that the legislature shall have power to -issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refused or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law”
Senate President Bukola Saraki had earlier read a letter from the Customs boss notifying the Senate of his inability to honour its invitation yesterday.
He however promised to appear before the Senate on a later date.
Ali also advised the Senate to avail itself of the legal basis of its decision to compel him to wear uniform.
He is expected to appear before the Senate today.