The Nigeria Customs Service’s refusal to appear before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee looking into the purchases and disposition of government assets infuriated the committee on Tuesday.
During the panel’s resumed hearing, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, the chairman of the ad hoc committee, criticized the NCS for not showing up for the committee’s meetings despite being called upon twice.
The panel, tasked with investigating how public property was disposed of between 2010 and 2022 and investigating claims of illicit property auctions and non-remittance of proceeds realized into the Federation’s Consolidated Revenue, threatened last week to use pertinent constitutional provisions to force Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to appear before it if necessary.
The leader of the House, Ihonvbere, denounced the head of MDAs’ “arrogance of power” and demanded that customs appear before the panel, stating that the house will do everything in its ability to guarantee that the agency honors its summons.
As per his statement, “We have composed. The summons has been published in the newspapers. There was a deadline on the summons for their appearance. Then, feeling that I am too important to see in person, they send me some innocent-looking letters signed by a Deputy Comptroller General for Finance, Administration, and Technical Services. This system has to get rid of this kind of power arrogance and indiscipline. This can’t go on.
Furthermore, the constitution gives us the authority to ensure that national assembly-funded government entities follow the law. And they have to act morally, whether the customs like it or not.
“I believe customs is operating under the assumption that this ad hoc committee will always exist. Similar to that, you import a car. You have to clear it during this window of time to avoid demurrage. And eventually, they’ll take the required actions, including bidding on whatever kind of vehicle you own.
Therefore, I believe that the Nigerian customer’s decision to ignore this House’s invitation is reckless once more. They consider this to be a joke. I want to reassure them that I am prepared to follow Nigerian customs to the letter of the law. “They have to come before the House,” he declared.