Stepping back some months, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) was well-received during all his visits to the Senate either for budget defence or other issues without any issue raised over his uniform.
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But presently his relationship with the senators has turned cold as the latter sent him back when he appeared before them last week in mufti insisting he must wear uniform.
A report has claimed that the recent imbroglio has its root in the fact that Customs officials in January this year, seized a bulletproof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) which allegedly belonged to the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The report by SaharaReporters said the SUV with chassis number SALGV3TF3EA190243, which market value was put at N298m, was intercepted on January 11, 2017 by Customs men from the headquarters of the Federal Operation Unit, Zone A, Ikeja.
The reasons for interception were because the owner (Saraki) paid N8m as duty on it instead of N74m, and the documents presented by the driver of the vehicle were found to be fake.
It said the Senate sent a letter to Customs requesting the release of the vehicle, and claiming it belonged to the convoy of the Senate President but Customs in its response requested for the end user certificate as well as evidence of proper clearance before the vehicle could be released.
Besides, it said the on-going-face-off may be owing to the refusal of Col. Ali to succumb to pressure to help release about 30 containers of imported rice seized last year by his men at the Tincan Island Command to a high ranking Senator, who pleaded that it should be released to him.
Another reason the Senate is said to be fighting the Customs boss, according to the report, was the suspension of the Customs Auction Sales since August last year.
It said the lawmakers used to allegedly benefit from the auction sale.