A former governor of defunct Western State, Maj.-Gen. David Jemibewon (rtd) has said the demand by the Senate that the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, appears before it in service uniform was unnecessary.
Jemibewon described Ali, a retired colonel, as a fine military man who should not belittle himself with customs uniform.
The retired general, who once served as the minister of police affairs, said he would have resigned if anyone had compelled him to wear police uniform as a minister.
He said: “It would be belittling the position of the uniform of a member of the Armed forces.
“There was no way anybody could have compelled me to wear uniform. I would have resigned,” Mr. Jemibewon said. “Even if the law said so I would have resigned.”
However, Jemibewon’s position on the issue was a contrast to what occurred when a former customs chief was appointed outside the service in similar manner as Ali wore uniform.
Bello Haliru had said the moment he was appointed, he became a career customs officer.
“I knew I must comply with all rules and regulations of the organisation I am leading and that included wearing a uniform.”
Similarly, Haladu Hananiya, a former corps marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, wore uniform of the agency following his appointment by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
This was despite the fact that Hananiya retired from the Nigerian Army as a major-general, years before his appointment to the FRSC.
When reminded of the above cases, Jemibewon, praised the humility, of Bello Haliru and Haladu Hananiya but stood his ground, still.
Jemibewon also admitted that he doesn’t know what Customs rules and regulations stipulate, but repeated that an Army officer should be above a Customs’ uniform.
“The highest patriotic body in any country in the world is the Army…You don’t expect someone who has risen to that position in the Army to wear customs uniform.”
“Here is a man who has excelled in his military career and you’re asking that one to wear Customs uniform? I don’t see how that will ensure competence and efficiency,” he said.