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Hameed Ali, senators clash over ‘breach of protocol’

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The senate and Hameed Ali, the comptroller general of Nigeria customs service (NCS), on Monday disagreed over protocol-related matters.

The disagreement was sequel to the visit of the senate ad hoc committee on waste in the NCS to the customs headquarters, Abuja.

The lingering feud between the duo resurfaced Monday as senators and the CG engaged in an argument bordering on the failure of the latter to accord the former anticipated protocol.

Dino Melaye, chairman of the committee, said the customs CG was expected to have received the committee members into the premises and not just meeting them at the conference room.

He said the protocol had been the practice with statutory bodies like customs, immigration, prisons, etc, over the years and wondered why such etiquette was not accorded the committee.

“Before reading the prepared speech of the committee, let me make this small remark on what we have just observed here in form of breach of protocols,” Melaye said.

“Mr CG, rather than meeting us here at the conference room by way of courtesy, you supposed to have met us at the ground floor on arrival into the premises.”

Reacting, the customs boss informed the committee that the NCS had its own protocols different from other public establishments and should not be dictated to on matters of etiquette or protocol.

“We have our own protocol as regards receiving visitors like you,” he said.

“I don’t need to come downstairs to receive you just as nobody in the senate or house of representatives has ever come out to receive us anytime we visit the national assembly.

“Let me state clearly that in the Nigeria Customs Service we are servants of the people. We believe in Nigeria and working with others to make it great without being railroaded in anyway.”

Lawmakers of the red chamber and the customs boss have clashed in the past. In 2017, Ali was summoned to the senate over the plan to seize vehicles without paid duty.

The senate had said Ali must wear a customs uniform during his appearance before he refused to do so, saying he was not appointed to wear uniform.

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