The Supreme leader of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, has been accused of making a procedural mistake in appointing Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, as the comptroller-general (CG) of Nigeria Customs Service.
According to Nigerian Gazette, did President Muhammadu Buhari make a procedural mistake in appointing Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, as the comptroller-general (CG) of Nigeria Customs Service? TheCable report.
Recall, section 3.11:1 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No 24 Vol. 89 of 25th March 2002, disclosed that the choice of the comptroller-general of customs shall be by “appointment of a suitable Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs (General Duty)”.
This guideline is on page 226 of the gazette 9 (see photo above) — which is an administrative publication of established procedures, orders and regulations.
A precise interpretation of the gazette would suggest that Ali was not qualified for the CG position since he was neither a customs officer nor a deputy comptroller-general.
it was however learnt that in his desire to clean up customs, considered to be one of the most corrupt government agencies, Buhari could not find an insider to trust and decided to bring in Ali, who is known for his modesty and integrity.
Photo credit: TheCable
When Abdullahi Diko Inde recently retired as the CG, one of his six deputies was expected to be appointed as his replacement.
“Security reports on the current deputy comptroller-generals were not favourable in any sense.”
“It became very clear to the president that he needed an outsider to thoroughly clean up the mess. Nigerians do not have any trust in the customs service, and this is one of the biggest revenue-collecting agencies for the federation,” an associate of the president disclosed on Monday.
Constitutional lawyer and a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, said the gazette does not have the force of law and section 5 of the 1999 constitution empowers the president to make the appointment from outside the service.
“For statutory bodies that the law does not clearly define how appointments are made, the president is fully protected by the 1999 constitution on how he can make the appointments,” he said.
According to him, the gazette in question is “a scheme of service” which regulates the internal procedures of promotion within the customs structure.
“What that gazette is saying in effect is that you cannot pick any customs officer below the rank of deputy comptroller-general as the CG. It is an internal procedure. Ali was picked from the outside so the rule does not apply to him. The president is protected by section 5(1)(a) of the constitution which allows him to appoint anybody to help him exercise his executive powers,” he stated.