Buhari Reveals How Abacha ‘Dumped Problems’ On Hameed Ali, Customs CG


President Muhammadu Buhari has narrated how the late General Sani Abacha, former military Head of State, gave tough tasks to Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Ali, a retired Colonel, had served as military administrator of Kaduna State in Abacha’s regime.

Speaking while inaugurating the new Customs Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari said Abacha trusted Ali to execute major tasks.

He added that he had confidence in Ali, and that was why he asked him to take charge of customs.

“As for Hameed Ali, I asked him to be in charge of customs. No matter what people say about the late Sani Abacha, may his soul rest in peace.”

“I knew him very well, when somehow he became president of this country, Head of State, the biggest problematic area was around Kaduna. He picked Colonel Hameed Ali and dumped the problems on him. My decision for Hameed Ali to come to customs was a deliberate one. I brought Colonel Hameed Ali to ensure that I have peace of mind.”

Ali was appointed Customs CG in 2015.

Buhari also said he closed the country’s land borders to encourage Nigerians to produce food for their consumption.

The president had ordered border closure in 2019, a policy which generated mixed feelings.

While Nigerian farmers commended the policy as they smiled to banks, traders who imported goods through the borders lamented hardship.

Speaking further, Buhari said although the move was initially criticised, Nigerians eventually appreciated it.

“Please note that from Lake Chad to Benin Republic is more than 1,600 kilometres, only God can effectively guard the borders. So you need a person who has the energy and the competence to supervise. I deliberately closed the borders because knowing Nigerians, they order rice, give some to Niger and the rest, and then they bring the rice here.”

“With our potential, we have people, we have land, and weather – how many nations are as lucky as Nigeria in the world, very few nations.

“So closing that border, 1,600 kilometres, Nigerians insist they eat boiled rice – you eat what you grow or you die. I tried to make my point and later Nigerians appreciated it.”


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