In what seems like last minute attempt to stave off any further face-off with lawmakers in the Red Chamber, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), yesterday paid a surprise visit to Senate President Bukola Saraki in his office at the National Assembly complex.
Clad in a white kaftan and a cap to match, Ali who arrived the senate wing of the National Assembly in a black Peugeot 508 car with plate number HQ 89CS at about 5:35pm, was said to have walked straight to the office of Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the Customs CG was led to the office of the Senate President by the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang in the company of the chairman, Senate committee on Customs and Excise Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo West).
After meeting behind closed doors with the Senate President, the embattled Customs boss left the National Assembly complex at about 6:55pm. A letter from Ali to the senate to the effect that he would not be appearing before the senate today was earlier read on the floor of the upper chamber yesterday.
In the said letter, the Customs CG asked for another day to appear before the Red Chamber. Ali stated in the letter that the decision not to appear before the lawmakers today was because the Nigeria Customs Service would be having routine management meeting today. But the angry lawmakers were more enraged that the letter was signed by his Assistant Controller General, an act they considered rude and a slight on the Senate.
The Senate President, Saraki, insisted that Ali must appear before the lawmakers today in uniform. The President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Customs boss to honor the summons by the Senate, which explains why he consequently went to confer with the Senate President before his appearance before the senate today.
Magu Appears Before Senate for Confirmation Today
Meanwhile, the Senate will today begin hearing on the confirmation of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. Senate President, Bukola Saraki who disclosed this during plenary session yesterday said that Magu had been slated for another screening today. The Presidency had in July last year requested the Senate to confirm Magu’s nomination in July through a letter signed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in his capacity as the acting president while Buhari was away on medical trip.
But the Senate showed no readiness to act on it until after several months when the upper chamber brought the issue up on December 15, 2016 and consequently rejected Magu’s nomination, citing security concerns. But before leaving the country for the United Kingdom, the president signed off the letter for Mr. Magu’s re-nomination for transmission to the Senate.