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Protocols: Customs CG lectures Senators

*Follow our protocols and don’t tell us what to follow

By Sandra Onyekwere

Like two wives of the same husband, Senate and thecComptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, on Monday, resumed their rivalry. This time, they disagreed over protocol-related matters.

The disagreement was sequel to the visit of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Waste in the Nigeria Customs Service to the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.

The lingering feud between the duo resurfaced Monday as senators and the CG engaged in an argument bordering on failure of the latter to accord the former anticipated protocol.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dino Melaye, said Ali was expected to have received the committee members into the premises and not just meeting them at the conference room.

Melaye said the protocol had been the practice with statutory bodies like Customs, Immigration and Prisons over the years and wondered why such etiquette was not accorded the committee.

He said: “Before reading the prepared speech of the committee, let me make this small remark on what we have just observed here in form of breach of protocols.

“Mr. CG, rather than meeting us here at the conference room by way of courtesy, you are supposed to have met us at the ground floor on arrival into the premises.”

Reacting, the customs boss informed the committee that the NCS had its own protocols different from other public establishments and should not be dictated to on matters of etiquette or protocol.

Ali said: “We have our own protocol as regards receiving visitors like you. I don’t need to come downstairs to receive you just as nobody in the Senate or House of Representatives has ever come out to receive us anytime we visit the National Assembly.

“Let me state clearly that in the Nigeria Customs Service we are servants of the people. We believe in Nigeria and working with others to make it great without being railroaded in anyway.”

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