Group Laments Harassment, Extortion by Customs

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customs checkpoint

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Members of the Shoes Dealers Association (SDA) in Jos have levelled allegations of harassment and extortion against officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The Chairman of the SDA, Hamza Adam, who sustained injuries on both his head and hand from maltreatments by officers of NCS, lamented that they were harassed when they bought legal goods from within their own country.
He called on the federal government, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Comptroller-General of Customs and the National Assembly to intervene and stop the humiliation being mated on them.

According to him, “Some years back now, Customs men have been stopping us on the road as we are coming back from Lagos to Jos. We always buy shoes form Lagos and other kitchen wares, socks, handkerchiefs, belts and other small, small things. Where we buy our market in the market place in Lagos Island, Oluwale is a recognized market.

“Anytime we go market, we always go in a convoy of at times seven to 10 motor vehicles. Last year in January, customs officials attacked one of my members where they shot him. I am even one of the victims. I am still struggling now to overcome the injury I sustained.

“We petitioned the Comptroller-General, the Senate and nothing has happened up till now. We did that through our lawyer. But nothing has happened. All our complaints fell on deaf ears. Those goods we buying are not illegal goods. We are buying in bulk from Lagos factories which are duly registered. They are not contrabands. They are legal goods. We don’t know our offence.

“Along Ibadan Toll gate, customs stopped us. I have three vehicles. I stopped and showed them the goods that we were carrying. We even showed them samples of the goods we were carrying. I showed them the receipts of the goods issued to us in Lagos after paying.

“They said that we should hold on, and delayed us for about three hours there. The next thing from them was that we should go to their office. We asked them which office they were talking about. We told them that we did not carry anything illegal or some contraband.

“At this juncture, I stood up and told them that we were not going to any office with the luggage because we were not carrying anything illegal. Then they started beating me with sticks. I am not a thief. I was not carrying goods from abroad but from Lagos. I was carrying the goods to my place in Jos.”