A former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Bello Haliru, on Tuesday said wearing the service’s uniform was party of its regulations.
Speaking to Premium Times, Haliru said during his time as Customs boss, he wore the uniform of the agency, even though he was a political appointee and not a career officer.
In 1988, Haliru was appointed Customs CG by General Ibrahim Babangida.
He was the first individual to be chosen outside the service.
Haliru was relieved of his duty in 1994 by former military ruler, General Sani Abacha.
Haliru, who is also a former Minister of Communications from 2001 to 2003, said he was duty-bound to obey all the rules and regulations of the agency following his appointment.
He said, “The moment I was appointed, I became a career Customs officer.
“I knew I must comply with all rules and regulations of the organisation I am leading and that included wearing a uniform.”
There has been controversy over the refusal of current Customs CG, Hameed Ali to wear the service’s uniform.
Since his appointment in August 2015, Ali has resisted pressure on him to wear the khaki, saying last week that he was “not appointed Comptroller-General to wear uniform.”
Speaking on the matter Haliru said he did not have sufficient knowledge about Ali’s appointment.
“It depends on the terms of his employment. I don’t know the terms of his employment.
“But as for me, when I was tapped to lead Customs, having accepted, I had to comply with all the Customs regulations.
“Wearing uniform is part of the service regulation. When you accept the appointment, you’re subject to the service regulations,” he said.
It was reported that Ali, a retired Army Colonel once said uniformed men do not wear uniform twice.
But findings revealed his claims to be unfounded.
Haladu Hananiya, a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, who before his appointment by former president Olusegun Obasanjo was a retired Major General, wore the uniform of the agency.
The acting spokesman of the Nigerian Customs Service, Joseph Attah, declined comments about the uniform controversy.
He said he would rather speak on the activities of Ali since he assumed office rather than dissipate energy over uniform.
“He was appointed from outside the service to carry out three mandates. He was appointed to restructure, reform and raise revenue for the country and he has been found to have performed greatly.”
He added, “I will rather talk about how Customs has been faring under him.
“Under him, a lot of repositions had taken place. There’s a reinvigoration now in all departments and corruption is being fought from every angle in the service.
“We have zero-tolerance for corruption and have also tried so much in the area of revenue generation.
“You’re aware of the pump action rifles that we intercepted a few weeks ago.
“There are the kinds of things we should be talking about.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.