Senate summons Hameed Ali over rice ban lift
The Senate yesterday summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Colonel Hammed Ali over the lifting of ban on rice importation through the country’s land borders.
The invitation followed a motion sponsored by Senator Adamu Aliero and 32 others seeking the reversal of the ban lift.
Aliero said the lifting of the ban would escalate rice smuggling and affect local rice production.
But many of his colleagues except Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South) faulted the prayers in the motion.
First to oppose the motion was Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) who said the motion was aimed at empowering the rich in the country.
“The only intention of the motion is to strengthen the rich who have money to import rice. It will be an exercise in futility to direct the Customs boss to reverse the lifting because our resolution is not binding. I suggest that we should invite the Customs boss to explain the rationale behind it, “he said.
Supporting Marafa’s argument, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna North) advocated for the banning the importation rice, saying “we cannot continue to empower farmers in Thailand at the expense of our local farmers.”
Also, Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South) said rice importation whether by road or sea is not good for Nigerians and the economy.
After the debate, Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the Customs boss should appear before the adhoc committee on Import Duty Waivers to explain why he took the decision.
He gave the committee two weeks to report back to Senate.