Ohaneze Youths Say Customs Sabotaging Igbo Traders

Hyacinth Chinweuba

The Ohaneze Youth Council has accused the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) of extorting Igbo traders.

The group alleged that the NCS officials have been carrying out, relentless extortion and exploitation of Igbo traders and businessmen in the country, particularly Lagos state.

The council stated that it is embittered by the rampant extortion, intimidation, and harassment of businessmen going about their legitimate businesses.

The group led by Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, has also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to investigate the activities of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) and his field officials in the Lagos area over their alleged bid to strangulate Igbo businesses.

The group said the rot that has eaten deep into the very fabric of the NCS whose officials no longer hide their inclination to extortion and corruption perpetrated especially against Igbo traders doing legitimate business.

It said through verified complaints, officials of the NCS has continued to request some undue and illegal levies from Igbo importers as a condition for clearing goods.

“They also stop Igbo traders on the roadways and demand illegal fees. They employ the use of coercion, threats, closure of shops and seizure of goods, to unlawfully extract money from their victims,” part of the statement read.

Recall that the group recently charged prominent Igbo leaders to unite and ensure the region gets presidency in 2023.

In a very different development, the Nigeria Customs Service has commenced the verification exercise of the status of all vehicle dealers nationwide with the recent directive to seal all car mart in Nigeria.

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The exercise according to our reporter, came to fore last weekend had all Federal Operations Units of the service mandated to commence the closure, while dealers are given a grace period to come forward with their genuine documents to several committees stationed in the four zones (A,B,C&D) set up with the task to ascertain the duty paid status of these vehicles.

Accordimg to the circular which was released in the instance of the CGC, and signed by ACG Fatade, all comforming mart would be unsealed, while those found wanting will pay the appropiate duty plus a 25 percent on duty paid penalty within the grace period,

However, customs FOUs nationwide are currently busy with the influx of dealers coming to comply with the directive of customs in other to have thier mart unsealed.

The dealers lament that it came to them too sudden as there is no prior information to the directive.

They however welcome the motive behind it, noting that the development will bring an end to the ‘cat and mouse’ race between customs and car dealers.

Futhermore, our source disclosed that the information was initially only disclosed to very few officers of the service, especially the field ones (Heads of FOUs) as the management (DCGs and ACGs) in the headquarters did not got wind of the exercise when it commenced last week. This is according to the source is targetted at achievimg huge success of the exercise.

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