By Isaac Anumihe
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), has threatened to drag the Controller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (retd), to court if he puts on the Customs uniform.
NAGAFF management expressed this position through a social media platform following raging debates over the propriety or otherwise of Ali wearing the Customs uniform as demanded by the Senate.
The organisation stated that Ali is not a trained Customs officer but a Nigerian on presidential assignment with clearly defined mandates to restructure Customs, reorganise the service and increase government’s revenue.
NAGAFF described any attempt to force 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 Nigeria 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 emphasis, the NAGAFF is the umbrella body of freight forwarding practitioners whose members are made of corporate bodies licensed 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 anything 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 to our profession and democracy in Nigeria, which is predicated 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.