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Buhari wades into Customs, Senate impasse

The presidency may have waded into the crisis between the Nigerian Customs Service and the Senate to avoid a  showdown. The crisis is between the Senate and the Comptroller General (CG) of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.).

It was generated by ultimatum issued to car owners and dealers nationwide to pay duties on their vehicles between March 13 and April 12, 2019, or risk having their cars impounded.

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

According to This Day newspaper, on getting wind of the impasse, President Muhammadu Buhari, who resumed duty on Monday cautioned his appointees against causing disaffection between the executive and the National Assembly.

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.

The letter, read at plenary on Tuesday morning, drew the ire of the senators who stated that by asking a subordinate officer, Assistant CG, to respond to its formal invitation and sign on his behalf, Ali had disrespected the institution.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who left plenary after presiding over the matter on the Customs boss, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, met with the president Tuesday afternoon.

A source disclosed that the presidency informed Saraki that Ali would appear before the Senate and pleaded that he be given the opportunity to explain himself.

Later, Ali sent another letter pleading for another appointment because he was bereaved.

The source could not, however, confirm if Ali would appear on Wednesday or not. According to This Day.

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