Group accuses customs officers of harassment, extortion

The Nigeria Lawyer

Officials of the Shoe Dealers Association (SDA), Terminus Branch, Jos, have accused officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of harassment and extortion, while carrying out their legal business. Chairman of the association, Hamza Sadiq Adam, who said he sustained injuries from the last onslaught by the customs men, wondered why the officers could treat them like that when they buy goods within the country.Adam called on the Federal Government, Inspector General of Police, Comptroller-General of Customs and the National Assembly to help stop the harassment. "Customs men have been stopping us on the road, as we return from Lagos to Jos. We always buy shoes, kitchen utensils, socks, handkerchiefs, belts and other things from Lagos. We buy our market at Oluwole Market on Lagos Island, which is a recognised market. "Anytime we go to market, we always go in a convoy of seven to 10 vehicles. In January last year, customs officials attacked one of my members and shot him. I am even one of the victims. I am still struggling now to recover from the injury I sustained. "We petitioned the Comptroller-General, the Senate through our lawyer and nothing has happened up till now. All our complaints fell on deaf ears. "The goods we buy are not illegal goods. We buy in bulk from Lagos factories, which are duly registered. They are not contrabands. And so, we don't know our offence" he said.He narrated how the customs officers showed him guns, saying that after beating him mercilessly, they could shoot him and that nothing would happen, adding: "This is not good for the country's image.