The Campaign for Democracy (CD) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), to investigate the alleged corrupt activities of his officers in the Southeast.
The group also urged the president to overhaul the leadership of the NCS for alleged impunity and abuse of office.
A statement by its Chairman Dede Uzor. A. Uzor, said the current crop of officers have dented the image of the NCS, adding that urgent intervention by the Presidency was imperative to save traders in the Southeast from further harassments and extortion.
The CD alleged that the activities of these officers was responsible for the continued rise in the prices of essential commodities as traders are compelled to inflate prices because of the bribe given to the officers at the road blocks.
The statement reads: “The traders have lost over two billion naira in the last four months to extortion and indiscriminate seizure by the officers who waylay them at every entry point.
“The activities of these men have become worrisome to the CD, given its grave consequences. At every checkpoint, which is scattered all over the place, each lorry pays between N20,000 to N50,000, depending on the goods it was conveying, though they have all the requisite papers.
“Most disturbing is the fact that the impounded goods still find their ways to the market because the wives and relatives of these officers own some of the biggest shops in the markets, which they stock with the seized products.
“This is not a mere allegation, but a serious issue that should be investigated, and those indicted be punished accordingly. We are urging the President to extend his war against corruption to the customs officers serving in the Southeast. He should as matter urgency, set up a taskforce to monitor their activities.
“The impunity of these officers cannot be compared to what is obtained in other zones and this explains the high rate of seizure of goods”.