Senate lacks powers to summon Customs boss – Falana

Senate lacks powers to summon Customs boss – Falana
March 20 12:23 2017

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has argued that the Senate lacks constitutional powers to summon the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hamid Ali (rtd).

According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, instead of playing into the hands of the Customs boss by invoking the provision of Section 88 of the Constitution, the Senate could have summoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to justify the policy of the Nigeria Customs Service, a parastatal under her supervision.

Falana in a statement on Sunday noted that the Senate was not conducting an investigation but challenging the policy of the Service on payment of duties.

“With respect, the summons served on the CGC (Mr Ali) is illegal and unconstitutional as it cannot be justified under Section 88(2) of the Constitution”, he stated.

The lawyer stressed that the Senate engaged in another illegality when it exceeded its powers by asking the CGC to appear before it in customs uniform.

He added that neither the constitution nor the rules of procedure of the Senate has conferred on the Upper Chamber, the power to compel Ali to wear Customs uniform when he is not a serving customs officer.

Falana said the directive was a reckless usurpation of the powers of the board which was the only competent body to decide on the wearing of uniform by Customs officer.

The lawyer however alligned with the Senate by urging the Minister of Finance to cancel the policy on payment of appropriate excise duties or face litigation.