Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Retired Colonel Hameed Ali has explained reasons why he has not been wearing the official uniform of the Customs since his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
It will be recalled Ali was summoned by the committee to explain the reason for the promotion and the sacking of officers without the approval of a board.
Obinna Ogba, a senator from Ebonyi central, speaking at the session, expressed dissatisfaction on why Ali would carry on the duties of CG in civilian attire since he was appointed in 2015. Ali in his response explained that he does not wear the uniform because he is a retired army officer.
The Customs boss told the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties on Thursday that military tradition does not permit him to wear paramilitary uniform as a retired Colonel.
His defence prompted a stage walked out by member of the Senate Committee when Senator Dino Melaye gave an instance of retired General of the Nigerian Army, Halidu Hannaniya, who wore the uniform of the Federal Road Safety Corps when he emerged as the Corps Marshal.
But Ali again maintained his stand that as a former military personnel, tradition does not permit him to wear para military uniform, arguing that Hannaniya made a mistake. Hope Uzodinma, the chairman of the committee also faulted the decision of the customs boss to promote and fire officers without recourse to a board.
He said it was illegal of the CG to carry out such administrative assignments without a board in place. The customs boss blamed the ministry of finance for the delay in the constitution of a board for the NCS. In response, Uzodinma assured him that the committee would send a letter to the ministry and other relevant bodies for the immediate constitution of the NCS board. He said: “We are releasing you to go and sew your uniform while we continue with officials of ministry of finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”