Tuesday, 14 March 2017
Customs boss begs Senate, says he is bereaved
In the letter signed personally by Ali and dated March 14, 2017, the C-G explained that he was currently bereaved and could not appear at the time.
On wearing Uniforms, he urged the Senate to give him time as he was seeking legal advise on the matter to avoid running foul of the laws of the land.
The letter reads in part: “Regarding the 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 seeking legal advice on this issue so that both the Senate and I will operate within the proper legal framework.
“I regret my inability to answer the Senate invitation owing to a recent bereavement. I will however, make myself available whenever i am needed in future,” he wrote.
The C-G had written to the Senate earlier stating that he could not honour the invitation as the date clashed with the official monthly management meeting of the NCS.
The letter which was signed by an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Azarema Abdulkadir, requested for a new date.
The letter was read by the Clerk, Mr Nelson Ayewoh, to the senators at plenary.
The Senate had on March 9, asked Ali to appear in plenary in uniform on Wednesday to address the issues of retroactive payment of duty on vehicles.
Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said that the excuse by Ali could not take precedence over the invitation of the senate.
“The letter was signed by someone else, not the C-G of Customs. A letter coming to the Senate from the Customs, especially an invitation, was written to the Customs C-G to appear here. He should have taken personal interest in writing that letter and signed it.
“This would have given his judgement some form of respect for the institution, not for us. I feel slighted and I am sure that everybody is slighted,” Lawan said.
On his part, Senator James Manager (Delta-PDP) said that the comptroller-general had tested the integrity of the senate.
“When a letter like this is coming from the executive, the Senate must take a firm stand.
“The C-G must appear before the senate on Wednesday. A meeting is not beyond his control; this is an insult of the highest order,” Manager said.
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the position of the chamber was clear and that the C-G should appear on Wednesday as directed by the earlier resolution.
“We wait to see him here tomorrow, 15 March,” Saraki said.
Meanwhile. a source in the office of the President of the Senate however told NAN that the Senate has also rejected the recent letter and insisted that the Col. must appear before the legislative Chamber on Wednesday.