By Odunewu Segun
The directive by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd) that vehicle dealers and owners should go to the nearest Customs office to check if they paid correct duties or be punished as illegal smugglers is not sitting well with Senators, National Daily has gathered
According to an observation by Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Ibn Na’Allah at plenary on Tuesday, it was expedient that the Upper Chamber treated the issue as a matter of priority, adding that implementation of the proposed policy was scheduled for April 12.
He cautioned that allowing such policy would impose more hardship on Nigerians.
Contributing, Sen. Dino Melaye, said that the policy was unacceptable. “What the Nigerian Customs has done by this announcement is pure advertisement of incapacitation and incompetence.”
“An innocent Nigerian who went to Kano or Kubwa, approached a dealer and bought a vehicle five to seven years ago will now be stopped for stop-and-search by Customs.”
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, said that in as much as customs would be encouraged to generate revenue for government, it should not be done at the expense of common sense and legality.
“Let me also say that we share the concerns of the customs boss on raising revenue to run our country but unfortunately, it cannot be at the expense of common sense and legality.
While ordering Customs to suspend the proposed policy, the Senate also ordered the Comptroller-General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), to appear before its Committee on Customs and Excise to explain the circular.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the Senate must carry out oversight on agencies of government to ensure that they complied with provisions of law.
Recall that the customs has already created for zonal offices of customs for affected dealers or vehicle owners to go and carry out the proposed verification before the grace period lapsed.