By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has threatened to drag Controller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ali, to court if he puts on the customs uniform.
The organisation expressed this position through a social media platform, following raging debates over the propriety or otherwise of Ali wearing the customs uniform as being demanded by the Senate.
It stated that Ali is not a proper customs officer but a Nigerian on presidential assignment, with clearly defined mandates to restructure, reorganize the service and increase government revenue.
NAGAFF described any attempt by Ali to wear the uniform as a wrong assumption of the character of a customs officer while postulating that the assigned tasks given him should be of more concern to Nigerians.
The statement read in part that ”For the public interest the avoidable conversation with regard to CGC Hameed Ibrahim Ali of the Nigerian Customs Service uniform saga the locus of NAGAFF to approach the court is to ensure that the laws of the land are not flouted or disrespected in a democratic society
For the emphasis the national association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders is the umbrella body of freight forwarding practitioners whose members are made of corporate bodies license d by the Nigerian customs service to perform functions in relation to customs formalities under section 154 of customs laws
It is also a body duly registered and accredited by the council for the regulation of freight forwarding in Nigeria whose mandate is to regulate and control the profession of freight forwarding practice in Nigeria, To advance our course of action under the circumstance”.
”It is a fact that any thing to the contrary in the administration and management of customs laws affects freight practitioners directly as critical stakeholders in the customs ports and border entry points.
”If we decide to keep quiet we may not be adding value in our profession and democracy in Nigeria which is predicted on rule of law, We shall approach the court to interpret the essence of CGC Ali wearing customs uniform for the reason that he is not a commissioned officer of the service,
”For those who are conversant with customs laws a visit to section 10 of the Customs and Excise Management Act cap c 45 of 2004 as amended shall find out that if Ali wears customs uniform it shall amount to unlawful assumption of character of an officer of the service”
”This is because he is not a trained customs officer and commissioned to wear such uniform as a proper customs officer of the federal Republic.
”In the opinion of NAGGAF, Ali is basically on special duty with the mandate of Mr president to reform, restructure and enhance revenue collection functions of the service period, Mr president may not even appoint as a sole administrator in a democratic government, The stool of comptroller General of customs goes with a rank as clearly stated in legal notices of the service as a supplementary legislation.
The point herein canvassed is to state clearly that Ali has specific duty to perform under presidential mandate other than wearing customs uniform, What should be discussed is find out to what extent he has been able to reform, restructure and enhance revenue collection functions of the service thereafter one year in office ”, it further added.