The House of Representatives on Wednesday threatened to issue warrant for the arrest of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hammeed Ali, out of displeasure for his non-appearance to the house call pertaining the issues of obscurities and ethnicity in the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The committee is investigating Ali over a petition alleging the occurrence of ‘lopsided’ promotions and posting which seem to favor only personnel from the North East, North Central and North West, within the Customs.
While ruling on a case in which the Ohaneze Youth Vanguard petitioned the House against the NCS, the Chairman House Committee on Public Petitions, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta , said that he hoped the CG is not trying to challenge the legislature.
“I hope the CG is not trying to go head on with the parliament, these are Nigerians who have complained. We have invited him severally and he keeps giving excuses.
“We may have to take a resolution as House not to give the Customs attention. This is not a military era. He has now been summoned to appear before the House on March 9, if he doesn’t show up a warrant will be issued.”
The President of the Ohaneze Youth Vanguard, Igweka Okonkwo said they petitioned the House against the NCS due to promotion and posting that was carried out in 2015 that unfairly sidelined the South East. Adding that the South East had the lowest number of senior officers, quoting it to be “a systematic way of cleansing an ethnic group.”
Okonkwo demonstrated the case with an instance in the rank of Deputy Comptrollers-General (DCG), he said the North East had 21, North Central 15, South East three, North West 26, South South, eight and South West 10
The other committees agenda include, mandates on Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to probe the procedure for the issuance of driver’s license, determine its integrity and come up with measures to reverse the trend if found to lack integrity.
In the debate led by Hon. Philip Shuaibu (Edo-APC), explained that the FRSC and the Vehicle Inspection Office as the two agencies involved in issuance of driver’s license has neglected the rules and their responsibilities, thereby compromising the integrity of Nigerian Driver’s License and endangering the lives and properties of the citizens.
He stressed that only licensed Driving Schools should offer training to intended drivers who thereafter should pass a driving test conducted by an agency of government but that is not the case at the moment
“There is a direct correlation between the high rate of accidents in the country yearly and the capacity of driver’s plying the highways. Driver’s licenses are issued by these agencies without determining how well the individual applying for it is conversant with traffic rules,” he said.
Shuaib lamented the lack of implementation of traffic rules by agencies saddled with the responsibility of punishing violators of such rules. He further called for the synchronization of database of license holders with that of national identity card for easy tracking if and when, the need arises.
The House therefore urged the committee to report its findings within four weeks for further legislative action.