Customs CG, Senate ad hoc committee in protocol drama

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The lingering feud between the Senate and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), yesterday, took another dimension as they clashed at the NCS headquaters, Abuja.

The renewed feud was triggered by remarks made by the chairman of the committee, Dino Melaye, that the Customs CG, by way of protocol, was supposed to welcome the committee members into the premises and not just meet them at the conference room.

He said the protocol has been the practice with statutory bodies like the Customs, Immigration, Prisons, and so on over the years, and wondered why such etiquette was not accorded the committee.

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

He then read a prepared speech outlining how the committee would carry out its investigation on economic waste in the Nigeria Customs Service.

Responding, the Customs boss told the committee that the NCS has its protocol, which is 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. I do not 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,” Ali said.

The CG later left the premises before the ad hoc commitee. While the Customs CG left the headquarters at about 2:15pm with his siren-blaring convoy, members of the Senate committee left at 2:20pm after being held up in their bus for about 15 minutes by the Customs CG’s convoy at the gate.

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