For what was described as ‘unlawful seizure of its goods and detention of its driver’, a firm, Echo Breeze Nigerian Limited, a member of the Association of Nigeria Tyre Marketers, has sued the Importers Association of Nigeria and questioned the right of the association to barricade road to disrupt businesses and extorts money from members of the public.
The company has also challenged one Mr. Obi Adrian Ifeanyi, who claimed to be representing IMAN in the Southwest for usurping the power of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), NAFDAC and security agencies empowered by the government to effect standardisation of manufacturing and imported goods in the country.
In a suit filed at the Ogun State High Court, Sagamu division, the company joined the association and the Nigerian police in the suit for seizure of its goods at Sagamu and detained both the goods and the driver of the truck.
When a manager of the company, Mr. Chimezie Maduka, led a cross section of journalists to Sagamu Police Station during the week, his lorry with the Edo State registration number, BEN802XC, was among the three lorries impounded in front of the station. The two other lorries were conveying electrical equipment and tyres to Onitsha and Benin respectively.
Speaking on the issue, lawyer of the Association of Nigeria Tyre Marketers, Mr. Olusola Kazeem Salawu, said the action was an infringement on the fundamental human right of Maduka and his company, since none of them is a member of IMAN, the association Ifeanyi claimed to be representing.
“It is illogical for an association to stand on the highway claiming to arrest their members with fake goods, claiming to have the authority of the presidency without any instruments or equipment to check substandard good. More importantly, the owner of the truck was not a member of their association. In Sagamu, an individual with two police escorts, is harassing and intimidate innocent members of the public,” he said.
Speaking with journalists Mr. Cletus Ebare, who spoke on behalf of the three drivers at the police station, stated that among other things, Ifeanyi collected their driver’s licences, vehicle particulars, keys as well as removing the batteries of their lorries.
When asked by the reporters if he had the power to seize goods, Ifeanyi, who said he was representing his association to save Nigeria economy, showed a letter of authority with the permission he got from the Nigerian Police, through the Zone 2 Police Command in Lagos. He also stated that all he asked from the drivers was the SONCAP certificate for their products and that those still detained were yet to produce it.
However, the story took a new turn when Sagamu DPO, Moses Aduroja, a CSP, who had initially stated that his station had no hand in how the lorries were intercepted, took both the representative of the company and Ifeanyi to the Area Commander, where they both disagreed on whose right to check SONCAP and confiscation of substandard goods.