- Plans to slam N100million suit against Customs
A human rights group in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has replied the authority of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operation Unit Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos State over its allegation on the illegal seizure of made in Nigeria Goods and some bags of rice belonging to one Mr. Chinedu Ekeze by the Operation Unit officials led by the Comptroller S.J.NADUGU, stating that its petition dated Tuesday 29th, 2015 and forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, Comptroller-General of the Customs, Minister of Interior, and host of others, was not fictitious and baseless as being claimed by its spokesperson, Mr. Uche Ejesiem.
It is equally declared that the rights group had concluded arrangement to slam N100million suit on the Customs service for violating the fundamental rights of the Nigeria citizen to do their legitimate business within the shore of the country, saying that the Court suit was imperative after fourteen days of not releasing the goods in question to the owner by the Customs service authority from the date on the Petition Letter which was Tuesday 29th December,2015.
The group (CHRSJ) which displayed the evidences of legitimate payment of over N3million teller of the WEMA Bank and related transaction documents issued to the owner of the goods in question dated 27th of November,2015 by the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),including the receipt collected on the made-in-Nigeria Goods to prove its(CHRSJ) position beyond reasonable doubt on the matter.
It also added another documents made for the payment of over N75million into the Customs Service’s Diamond Bank account of Idiroko Border branch with teller Pay-in-slip Number: 7756301, dated 20th November, 2015 by the Zaimma Services Nigeria Limited as part of the payment made on the goods in question.
Reacting to the Statement credited to the spokesperson of the Customs FOU, Zone A, Mr. Uche Ejesiem that the CHRSJ’s petition to the Customs boss, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd) over the goods was “fictitious and baseless”, through a statement issued and signed by the rights group’s Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman, which a copy was made available to newsmen in Lagos on Thursday, urged the FOU Customs’ spokesperson to tell the whole world the goods that was prohibited among the goods in question that were seized by them.
Comrade Sulaiman who also requested from the Unit’s spokesperson to tell the whole world if the country was having two Customs Service which one Command will collect Custom duties on the goods and another Unit of the Customs Service would seize the goods back, saying that the statement credited to the spokesperson was his(Uche Ejesiem) figment of imagination, believing that the concerned authority in the Customs Service would wade into the matter within the reasonable time and sanction all the erring officers that involved in the alleged illegal deal.
CHRSJ boss promised that the group on behalf of the owner of the goods, Mr. Chinedu Ekeze, would soon approach the Court of competent jurisdiction to seek redress and as well apply for N100million compensation over physical and psychological trauma and business loss incurred by the owner of the goods in question as a result of seizure of the goods illegally.
Sulaiman however mainatned that some Customs officials have been in the 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 and the development which was inimical to the nation’s revenue generation, adding that ”it is on record that they are collecting bail fees between #150,000 to #250,000 from any of their victims”.
According to him “Mr. Uche Ejesieme, the spokesperson of the Customs FOU, Zone A,Ikeja, Lagos State should stop misleading the public and diverting the attention of the people from the subject matter of illegally seized the goods that has been paid Custom duty on it and made in Nigeria goods contained in the vehicle with Registration number: XT 270 BEN. Evidences have shown that the Customs officials of FOU, Zone A have goofed and this will serve as deterrent to any other erring officers who believed that they can manipulate the system to satisfying their desire as usual. The public will understand that the spokesperson does not know what we are talking about on the issue. He thought that it is the same general issue they used to talk about.
“The government officials, particularly, the Operation Unit officers led by the Comptroller S.J.NADUGU should know by now that we are not in banana republic where anybody can do as he or she likes. This is a country that is guided by the rule of law and no organization is above the law. Our human rights organization (CHRSJ) will not allow any agency of government to return the country back to the dark days of despotic rule through their actions and in actions. We also discovered that there is need for the new Comptroller-General of Customs Service to beam searchlight on the all the units of the Customs service in the country. Because, the levels of corruption among the Customs officers in the nation are enormous, gargantuan and ambush to the economy development and growth.”
CHRSJ boss contended that the only solution to the present matter was for the authority of the Customs Service to order the immediate released of the goods to the owner and tender the unreserved apology to the owner of the goods in question because of the psychology trauma they went through over the illegality of the Customs officials.