The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has condemned the refusal of the Customs Comptroller-General, Hammed Ali, to appear in uniform before the Senate; describing his action as ‘unwarranted arrogance and unpatriotic attitude’.
The group, in a statement signed and issued by its media coordinator, Wale Salami, insisted that Ali must wear his uniform or quit his position in the Customs service.
CACOL, in stressing that Ali’s actions has become a joke taken too far, said that arguments in support of his recalcitrance amount to disrespecting the country and attempting to justify misdemeanor.
The group called for introspection on the way institutions are established and maintained in the country, adding that the actions of the CG of the NCS, who has made himself appear as one who is above the law and the country can only occur when institutions are not virile to auto-clean itself of corruption.
The statement reads: “We unequivocally condemn the unwarranted arrogance and unpatriotic attitude of the CG of NCS for his irrational decision not to appear in uniform before the Senate, our Centre, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL calls on Nigerians not to lose focus of the background of the melodrama that is being played out presently.
“We must understand that the issues are more profound beyond the pettiness of Ali and the ‘almighty’ Senate, the arguments will fritter away and the fundamental challenges will remain.
“In CACOL, we align with those who insist that Ali should wear his uniform or quit, those are the choices before him, his joke has been taken too far.
“The Senate is a Constitutional Institution and has to be treated as such regardless of the occupants. All the arguments in support of his recalcitrance pale up to disrespecting the country and only attempts to justify misdemeanor.
“We are displeased and totally condemn the actions of the CG of the NCS, who has made himself appear as one who is above the law and the country. We expect the CG to do what is right by putting the interest and the reputation of the country first.
“The profound lesson from this experience is that when we do not build virile institutions that can auto-clean itself of corruption and maladministration through internal mechanisms, issues like this will always arise.
“We could ask why is it the practice for long to always look outside certain institutions to choose/appoint who leads them like the NCS case that is led by a retired Colonel as CG? Are officials not supposed to ride through the ranks to reach leadership via merit? Are there no men of honour and integrity within the Service that could have risen through the ranks to become CG? Do we have to put round pegs in round holes?
“The problems are deeper than the pettiness we are witnessing, it is the system that has been, and still subsist that requires overhauling, a task which is apparently beyond the present government. This too, Shall pass!
“And the NCS operations will remain same if we are not circumspect enough by focusing on the details of the scenario to bring out the fundamental issues that must be addressed in moving forward from the present state!!”