What is this petty power tussle between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller?

It’s amazing sometimes how things happen in Nigeria. Actually, “wonderful” is a better way to put it.

You’d think that when lawmakers in a country need to perform their oversight functions of calling heads of government agencies to order, they’ll do so in all seriousness.

Can anyone even remember the reason the Senate and the Customs Comptroller-General got into this embarrassing misbehaviour in the first place?

It started after the Customs boss attended a session in chambers upon the lawmakers’invitation to answer questions as to why his agency promoted and sacked customs officers without the approval of a board.

Senator Hope Uzodinma, the chairman of the senate committee on customs and excise duties from Imo West, had faulted the decision of the customs boss to promote and fire officers without recourse to a board and so invited the Rtd. Col. Hamid Ali (the customs CG) to come explain. This was very early in February.

While the CG tried to explain to them that the Ministry of Finance had been stalling the constitution of Nigerian Customs Service board, members of the committee started to walk out on him on account of his appearing before them without his uniform.

Yes, that story is as crazy as it looks.

That encounter ended with the Senate Committee Chairman promising to “write a letter straight away to the minister, secretary to the government of the federation and attorney general of federation to put the board in place without any further delay.”

Yet all we have heard since then from the CG as well as the Senate revolve around the wearing of uniform and the refusal to wear the same.

Like who cares? Can everyone involved just suck it up and get busy with their real mandates?


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