Traders cry to FG over alleged excesses of customs
The Organising Secretary of the Shoes Dealers Association and member of the North Multifarious Traders Union of Nigeria, Umar Sabo Umar, has lamented the excesses of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), calling on the Federal Government to intervene.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, he called on the controller-general of NCS to caution his men who were allegedly harassing traders unnecessarily and illegally.
Umar cited the Lagos-Jos road where traders were always embarrassed.
According to him, his members always buy goods from open markets in Lagos, which are recognised by government.
He alleged that customs men forcefully collected N300,000 from his members on Friday, November 22, 2019 as they were returning to Jos from Lagos.
“Their vehicle is J5. They were coming from Lagos and the articles they bought were not illegal. They were not contraband materials. But I could not get them again on my phone. Later on, they told me that they were released after paying the amount.
“Our worry is that last week, we heard the Director-General of Customs saying that his men should not collect any money from traders or stop any vehicle conveying traders. Unfortunately, customs officers on the roads have neglected that order, (and kept on) harassing us as if we are going contrary to the country’s laws,” he said.
If the traders who sweated to gather the money to travel and buy the goods are now being seized by the customs, then they are encouraging insecurity because when they are idle, they can go to the roads and join those armed robbers to carry arms and threaten people’s lives, the shoe dealer added.
Chairman of the association in Jos, Sadiq Adams, said he was greatly perturbed by the happenings between his members and customs.
He called on the Federal Government to check the excesses of the customs.
Secretary of the association in Jos, Babangida Musa, also appealed to the Federal Government through the Director-General of Customs to come to their aid.
Musa cited the alleged extortion of N800,000 from traders which he believed did not go into the account of the customs.
He also complained of the duty checks in Kogi State.
“We know, this government is fighting the war against corruption. If we are forced to give that money, then we are still contributing to that corruption. So, we are calling the attention of the Federal Government, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in particular, to intervene to save Nigerians who are trying to make ends meet,” he submitted.