A legal practitioner has filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja to restrain the National Assembly from compelling the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) to wear a uniform in the performance of his duties.
The suit, filed yesterday, named Ali, the NCS, the NASS, the Senate and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as first to fifth defendants.
The plaintiff, Mohammed Ibrahim is seeking a court declaration that Ali’s appointment as Customs boss cannot be subject to the provisions of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) or any other law.
A declaration that Hameed Ali who is not a commissioned officer of the NCS is not mandated by law to wear a uniform and that the oversight functions of the National Assembly does not extend to compelling and mandating him to appear before it in uniform.
The plaintiff is also asking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining both the NASS and the Senate from compelling Hammed Ali to wear a uniform in the performance of his duties. No date has been fixed yet for the hearing.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have threatened to sue the embattled Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) if he should wear the Customs uniform.
In a statement to journalists, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said the Customs CG was not a commissioned officer hence can’t assume the character of an officer of the service.
Aniebonam citing Section 10 of Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) cap C 45 of 2004 said the character of a proper Customs Officer shall include but not limited to Uniform, Service Number, Rank, Identity card and of course a formal training to initiate an officer into revenue and Enforcement Duty which he said the CG never had.
“Ali is correct for not wearing Customs uniform and equally Mr president was right for not appointing him as a sole administrator in a democratic government,” he said.
“Our locus shall be drawn from section 154 of CEMA Cap C 145 of 2004 as amended, The real issue before NAGAFF is to examine and determine whether Ali is doing his job as directed by president Muhammadu Buhari to reform, restructure and enhance revenue collection functions of the service.”
“Presidential mandate to Ali were specific and unambiguous, he was directed to reform, restructure and enhance revenue collection functions of the service within a time frame of four years of the administration tenure.”
Aniebonam added that if Ali should wear the Customs uniform, NAGAFF may approach the court to stop him from the act of unlawful assumption of character of an officer of the service.
Recall that the Senate last Wednesday insisted that Ali should appear before it on Thursday in Customs uniform. The Customs CG Retired Colonel Hameed Ali, however, defied the Senate’s order and appeared before them on Thursday in a white caftan and cap.
The Senators by a voice vote turned back the customs CG, directing him to return to the senate on Wednesday, March 22 in proper uniform designated for the office of ComptrollerGeneral of Nigeria Customs Service.