Gyang Bere, Jos
National Association of Shoe Dealers (SDA) has protested consistent harassment and extortion of members by men of the Nigerian Customs Service along Lagos and Ibandan express way.
Chairman of the Association, Mallam Hamza Sadiq Adams, who addressed journalists in Jos on Monday, said most of his members have been inflicted with injuries while some have died as a result of brutality from Customs officials.
Adams, who narrated his personal ordeal at the briefing, said he sustained a hand and head injuries from the last onslaught in November 2018 in the hands of the Customs operatives.
He called on the Federal Government, the Inspector-General of Police, Comptroller-General of Customs and the National Assembly to come to their aid to stop the shameful and illegal activities of customs officials.
“For some time now Customs men have been stopping us on the road as we are coming back from Lagos to Jos. We always buy shoes and other kitchen wares, socks, handkerchiefs, belts and other small things from Lagos. We buy our products in popular market places on Lagos Island, and Oluwole, which are recognised market.
“And anytime we are going to the market, we always go in a convoy of about seven to 10 motor vehicles. Last year, Customs officials attacked one of my members and he was shot. I was even one of the victims as I am still battling to survive the injury I sustained. during that encounter”
“ We want the Federal Government to take note of this and do something about it because it is denting the image of Nigeria. For instance, they seized two of our vehicles and held us to ransom threatening they would not release the vehicles and the goods until we paid N800,000. This happened in November 2018.’ . he lamented.
He said each vehicle stated that each was made to pay N15,000 so that they would have a smooth journey to their destination in Jos, adding that after paying this amount as a booking fee, they would still be embarrassed on the way as the agents would notify others of their coming together with their identity.
The Organising Secretary of the association, Umar Sabo Umar, and Secretary, Babangida Musa, told the government to know that they are law-abiding citizens who need security and called for the Federal Government intervention.