A human rights group in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has petitioned the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) over illegal seizure of made in Nigeria Goods and some bags of rice belonging to one Mr. Chinedu Ekeze by the Customs officials led by the Comptroller S.J.NADUGU of the Federal Operations Unit, zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos-State, after the fulfilment of approved Custom duty payment of sum of over three million naira to the WEMA Banks account of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) on the 27th of November, 2015 on the goods in question, saying that the seizure of the goods lack moral and legal justifications after the Customs Service had issued certified receipt dated 27th of November, 2015 to the owner of the goods in question.
It however reposed confidence in the ability of the Comptroller-General, Colonel Hammed Ali that he would wade into the matter by resolving it in no distance time, thereby calling for immediate release of the goods to the owner (Mr. Chinedu Ekeze), alleging that the goods in question had been disappeared in the office of the Customs in Lagos State after few days of seizure.
The rights group also forwarded the copies of the Petition letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, National Assembly leadership, Minister of Interior, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and host of others for their notification and necessary action on the subject matter.
According to the Petition Letter dated Tuesday 29th, December, 2015 and titled: “Report of illegal and unlawful seizure of Nigeria made Goods and Custom receipt bags of rice at Ijebu-ode, Ogun state belonging to Mr. Chinedu Ekeze with phone number:08033812047 and other wanton transactions of your officers led by Comptroller S.J. Nadugu of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos-State that is inimical to the nation’s economy growth and development which is against the template of change mantra and why disciplinary action should be taken against all the listed officers after thorough investigation”, which was signed by the CHRSJ’s Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman and a copy was made available to newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday.
Comrade who threatened to take the option of legal action against the Customs Service on behalf of the owner of the goods if the Comptroller-General could not resolve the illegal seizure of the goods within the reasonable time of receiving the Petition Letter, promised to come forward to substantiate the allegations contained in the Petition Letter whenever the group were called upon to do so.
Other officers alleged of involved in the illegal seizure of the goods were; Officer –in-Charge of Legal Department -PIYANPIDAT,N.D, Officer-in-Charge of Revenue- BALA,S.T., Assistant Officer-in-Charge of Legal-AJAKAYE,J.I.,ARIWOOLA(Mrs.),ALIYU,I., ADEKUNLE,W.A., ALIMI,M.A.,DOGO,F.,SAMIR and LEMMA.
The petition which contained attachment of evidences to prove their position beyond reasonable doubt, noting that “it is pertinent to inform your humble self that we do not want a situation in which the CHRSJ will mobilize other human rights groups both locally and internationally to resist this illegality of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by picketing the Federal Operation Unit office of the Customs Service in Ikeja, Lagos State, if urgent action is not taken to sweep this problem into oblivion. A stitch in time saves nine”.
The goods that contained in the Steyr Truck with Registration Number: XT 270 BEN were; 66o pieces of 10kg Bags of Rice, 100 pieces of 25kg Bags of Rice, 8 cartoons of Kings Vegetable Oil,5 Cartons of Turkey Vegetable Oil and 5 Cartons of Knorr Margi Cube as explained in the Appeal Letter dated 4th of December, 2015 which was signed by Mr. Chinedu Ekeze and also received by the office of Comptroller of the Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Federal Operation Unit at the same date, precisely, 4th of December,2015.
The petition reads in part: “Sir, the investigation revealed to us that the above named officers have conspired together to unlawfully sell the said goods in question to their Customers-in-Crime and share the few of it within themselves as they failed to produce the seized goods when our team were in the Federal Operation Unit on Friday 18th and Tuesday 22nd December, 2015.
“Although, the Comptroller S.J.NADUGU, and the Officer –in-Charge of Legal-PIYANPIDAT, N.D., during the hot argument with the leader of our team, COMRADE ADENIYI, ALIMI SULAIMAN on Tuesday 22th, December, 2015, had declared that the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had given them the authority to sell and share any seized goods within themselves which we believe it could not be true because of the sanctity of the antecedents of the newly appointed Comptroller-General, Colonel Hammed Alli as one of the finest and incorruptible Military officers ever produced by the country”.
He added that: “Sir, some of these Customs officials have been in this barbaric, illegal and unlawful business act as usual by using their official position for illegal and selfish aggrandizement over the years which is against the preaching of present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. This development has been inimical to the nation’s revenue generation. It is on record that they are collecting bail fees between #150,000 to #250,000 from any of their victims”.
Sulaiman therefore urged the authority of the Customs service to request from the CUSTOMS officials of the Federal Operation Unit Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos State to show the world the video clip of where they distributed the seized goods to the Nigeria masses, particularly, the seized goods in question, adding that “those officers mentioned in this Petition Letter should be tried in the Court of Law for sabotaging the economy progress and development of the country which is contrary to the Laws of the Federation”.