Senator Sees Enemies Of Government Within Presidency
It was another day of plenary and one scheduled for the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, to appear before the Senate but that never happened.
He had sent in a letter to the Senate the previous day, informing the lawmakers he would not be appearing before them.
The Senate wanted the Customs’ boss to appear before it in complete regalia, but critics have said he is a political appointee and had no business wearing uniforms.
His absence had made way for the reading of a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation sent to the Senate, with content focusing on the invitation of the Customs’ boss.
The Deputy Senate President asked the Clerk to read the letter, which highlighted that Colonel Ali had obtained a court injunction on the matter.
After the letter was read, the Senators were asked to comment on it.
Reacting to the letter, Senator Dino Melaye asked: "Can the Court Process Stop any form of government from carrying out constitutional duties?".
He stated that it is the first time the Attorney General would write to the Senate on how to run its affairs, pointing out that letter is not a court order.
"It's a mere Court Process. The position of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service is a rank and anyone occupying it is a Public Servant," he said, demanding that the Public Service Rule should be adhered to.
On his part, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe pointed out that it made no sense for Colonel Ali to rush to court to secure a deliberate injunction.
He urged the Senate to reject the letter written by the Attorney General.
Gradually the deliberation shifted to a swipe on the Executive Arm of government.
Senator Olujimi began her comment by insisting that the action of the customs' boss was a breach of the Constitution and a grand display of arrogance and stated further that such display only showed that he had not seen any need to abide by the law.
"Executive is sitting pretty and pretending nothing is wrong," she added.
Another Senator, Sekibo told the upper chamber that the letter from the Attorney General undermined the Senate as an institution and must be investigated.
After her comment came the big blow, a claim by a Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Isah Misau. It is something that the presidency will have to comment on.
Senator Misau said: "Enemies of this Government are within the Presidency, insisting that "if the Attorney General can write a letter to the Senate, I wonder what advise he gives Mr President".
One contentious issue in the whole brouhaha is a policy which Senator Abaribe described as obnoxious, and stressed that the Customs boss was invited to explain his policy.
Giving his opinion on the policy, Senator Aliyu Sabi urged the Senate to cancel the collection of duty until a more robust method of collection was agreed.
After comments from the Senators, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said it was important that the integrity of the Senate be maintained at all times and defended the demand that Colonel Ali must appear in full regalia.
"There's no big deal in asking a public officer to dress properly, people should be proud of what they do.
"We as public officers should live an exemplary life and obey laws in accordance of the constitution," he added.
Meanwhile, the Senate has requested that Colonel Ali should be sacked.