by Azeez Adeniyi
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has accused the Senate of trying to punish Comptroller General of Customs Hameed Ali.
There had been reports that the Customs seized an imported bulletproof Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) belonging to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
It has been rumoured that this has been the reason the Senate has continued to summon the Customs CG.
However, Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu had said the Senate had not taken delivery of the vehicle when it was impounded.
He said, “A supplier was engaged by the Senate to supply a vehicle while tranfering the vehicle between Lagos and Abuja, it was impounded by the Customs. We believe that it is an issue between the supplier and the Customs because the Senate had not taken delivery.”
But Falana on Wednesday said: “The statement credited to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki is not a denial of the criminal allegation but an attempt to pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians.
“Even If we accept the explanation it means that the Senate leadership bought a vehicle that was imported to the country with forged documents.
“That has confirmed that the planned humiliation of the customs boss was borne out of vengeance. So it is no longer a case of individual liability but that of institutional criminal negligence.
“These guys have to invent more lies because the limousine was not budgeted for by the National Assembly.
“Or is it another case of padding of the budget? Why is the leadership always associated with forgery and fraud? Did the senate leader not distance himself from the controversial vehicle? So why did the leader of the senate allow the matter to be investigated by the ethics committee of the upper chamber if he was planning to wash off his hands like Pontius Pilate?
“Since there are many unanswered questions, the Nigeria Customs Service should go ahead and get to the root of the criminality with a view to prosecuting the culprits.”