Vehicle Duties: Nigerian Senate issues arrest warrant on Customs boss

THE Senate on Wednesday asked the Comptroller -General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, rtd to appear before it tomorrow to explain why he has refused to honour the invitation of the upper chambers to come and explain the policy on duty on vehicles and other recent acts of the Customs.

The decision of the Senate followed a motion by Senator George Sekibo, PDP, Rivers East who relied on Section 88of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria( as amended) and seconded by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. The Senate compelled the NCS boss to appear before it at plenary tomorrow at 10am. According to the Senate, if he fails to appear, it would be forced to issue a warrant for his arrest. According to the Senate, the action taken could have been avoided if each institution has respect for the other and that it is an indication that no body is above the law., just as it stressed that government is not about making money, but about the welfare of the people, adding that the Senate must move against anyone or institution that tries to rubbish the Upper chambers as an institution. Taking a swipe at the NCS boss over his statement that the issue raised on the duty was unnecessary tension, the Senate asked him to retract the statement. Senator Sekibo said, “For the purposes of any investigation under section 88 of this Constitutional and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 62 of this Constitution shall have power to – procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject matter; require such evidence to be given on oath; summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and “issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refused or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law. “A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.” Attempts by Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye to amend the motion by Sekibo was rebuffed by his colleagues as he was shouted down, thereby forcing him to withdraw his secondment. Following the refusal of his colleagues to allow him, Senator Ekweremadu then seconded the motion.

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