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Why Buhari should call customs boss Hameed Ali to order – OPC leader

Buhari

– OPC founder, Frederick Fasehun, says the insistence by the comptroller general of the customs service, Hameed Ali, to force motorists to pay duties and tariffs for vehicles bought from importers is an act of impunity

– Fasehun calls on customs authorities to rather put their house in order by identifying and sanctioning corrupt officers who collude with smugglers to allow smuggled goods into the country

– The OPC leader says the customs’ order would subject vehicle owners to double jeopardy for vehicles they bought at exorbitant costs and for which they had procured necessary particulars

Frederick Fasehun has said it will amount to an act of impunity for customs to begin to seize vehicles whose owners failed to present import duty papers.

The founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Frederick Fasehun, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to compel the comptroller general of the customs service, Hameed Ali, to obey the Senate’s order and suspend the plan to force motorists to pay duties and tariffs for vehicles bought from importers.

Fasehun, who made the call on Monday, March 13, in Lagos, said Ali’s insistence to carry on with the April 12 deadline despite the Senate’s disapproval was “an act of impunity”, the Punch reports.

He said: “We urge the President and the Minister of Internal Affairs to immediately compel the Comptroller General to obey the Senate’s order. Hameed Ali must obey the Senate. Furthermore, the Nigeria Customs Service should be barred from raiding the warehouses and shops of rice merchants, an action that has resulted in unnecessary loss of lives. Such high-handed actions by the customs will cause uncertainty and scare away foreign investors.

“Customs authorities should rather put their house in order by identifying and sanctioning corrupt officers who collude with smugglers to allow smuggled goods into the country. We urge the Federal Government to stop further harassment of poor traders.

“If the customs service is interested in shoring up its revenue, it should convince the government to repudiate many draconian, ill-advised and insensitive policies that this regime has rolled out and which have negatively impacted on the revenue accruing from imports.”

Recall that customs had warned that beginning from April 12, its officers would begin to seize vehicles whose owners failed to present import duty papers.

But Fasehun said the customs’ order would subject vehicle owners to double jeopardy for vehicles they bought at exorbitant costs and for which they had procured necessary particulars.

Meanwhile, the Senate has asked the Colonel Ali to appear “in plenary in uniform” on Wednesday, March 15, “unfailingly.”

Part of the problem is the refusal of the Comptroller General to suspend action on the proposed clamp down on vehicles without duty payment, as ordered by the legislature.

Also he has been asked to appear before the lawmakers in the chamber in Customs uniform, which the NCS boss had refused to wear.

If he refused to comply, the lawmakers called for Ali’s removal if he failed to comply with directives from the Senate.

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