Why Ali Shouldn’t Wear Customs Uniform – Rtd General …Fani-Kayode Disagrees


David Jemibewon, a retired Major General and former Governor of defunct Western State, has weighed in on the ongoing faceoff between the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service and the Senate.
Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, has not been seen in Customs uniform since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, sparking confrontation between him and senators who threatened serious consequences if he failed to do so by next week.
The senate before then had passed a resolution demanding that the customs boss appears before it on the service uniform to explain issues bordering on duty payment for imported vehicles.
Mr. Jemibewon said the demand from the senators was unnecessary.
Nonetheless, he threw his support behind Mr. Ali, describing him as a fine military man who should not belittle himself with Customs uniform.
“It would be belittling the position of the uniform of a member of the Armed forces,” Mr. Jemibewon said.
Mr. Jemibewon, a former Minister of Police Affairs, said he would have resigned if anyone had compelled him to wear police uniform as a minister.”
The comments came days after our correspondent reported that a former Customs chief appointed outside the service in similar manner as Mr. Ali wore uniform.
Similarly, Haladu Hananiya, a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, wore uniform of the agency following his appointment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
This was despite the fact that Mr. Hananiya retired from the Nigerian Army as a Major-General, years before his appointment to the FRSC.
When reminded about these past events, Mr. Jemibewon praised their humility, but stood his ground, still.
Mr. Jemibewon also admitted that he doesn’t know what Customs rules and regulations stipulate, but repeated that an Army officer should be above a Customs’ uniform.
“The highest patriotic body in any country in the world is the Army,” Mr. Jemibewon said. “You don’t expect someone who has risen to that position in the Army to wear customs uniform.”
“Here is a man who has excelled in his military career and you’re asking that one to wear Customs uniform? I don’t see how that will ensure competence and efficiency.”
But a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, disagreed, writing on Twitter that the Senate must assert its position and a foremost authority in the country.
“The Senate should insist that he appears before them stark naked. If he refuses they should arrest him and have him brought in chains,” Mr. Fani-Kayode, who had been standing trial for alleged corruption since last year, tweeted yesterday.
The Senate rescheduled Mr. Ali’s appearance to March 22 during which he must appear in uniform.