SOS to Buhari: Take Customs Officers Off Our Roads!
Is Nigeria drifting back to the stone age? The world is growing into a global village where civilization is turning on the light on every nook and cranny of life. Science and technology is holding sway and life is becoming ever easier and comfortable.
The most important area of improvement is in the area of human Rights. One can easily engage in tussle even with the federal government without fear or favor. But point your touchlight on Nigeria, fear will grip you.
I don’t want to enter into the details of what Nigerians are undergoing because all of us know what it is like to be a Nigerian. My area of interest is what the custom personnels are doing on our roads.
It’s true that the government is trying it’s best to checkmate the influx of illegitimate goods into the country, but this has turned the entire country into a land of butchery where defenceless innocent citizens have become the hunted and the armed Customs men have become the predators and hunters.
Formerly, when one buys goods from Lagos traveling to Kontagora or Minna in Niger State, one will pass about 5 docile custom checkpoints who rarely check your goods.
But now armed by the government with live ammunitions new cars and shameless audacity, the custom checkpoints have spread themselves into about 25 voracious points, each checkpoint demanding a fortune from drivers and goods owners at gunpoint.
If one dares to object to their demands, under the guise of checking your goods, they cut the ropes with knives and destroy the bags and cartons used to organize these goods at the point of purchase. In view of this, the hapless victim have no choice but to dance to their tune and acquiesce to their demands.
So it’s obvious that Nigeria is rapidly retrogressing to the era of the stone age where might is Right. An era where there is no law and life is nasty brutish and short.
Even if one buys one carton of an item imported in thousands of cartons, the Customs personnels will demand import duty. If one can’t provide the import duty, they will bill one thousands of naira.
Pray, where will this lone buyer who goes into the market to buy say one carton of maths set or pencil see import duty? This is usually after they had systematically and ruthlessly searched and destroyed the goods and found no incriminating or banned goods.
The government has unleashed these voracious wolves and lions called custom on the populace, heavily taxing and shamelessly extorting money from whomever they see on the road.
Private car owners are not exempt from those rogues. Even with one’s import duty handy, they will search through your documents and point out any vain discrepancy from the ideal they may create.
Are we actually moving forward as a country? How long will these tears of blood fall from the eyes on helpless citizens? Is the government not meant to serve and protect their subjects?
Custom is the worst menace the Nigerian citizens are currently facing. They are worse than Boko Haram and armed bandits.
They are worse because while the former are viewed as outlaws and work undercover, Customs men enjoy the backing of government and dash around with shameless audacity and brandish their weapons of destruction even in the face of God.
As I’m writing this, a truck conveying our goods from Lagos to Kontagora with goods worth about N25 million was impounded by Customs men near Ibadan and towed back to Ikeja, Lagos, Customs office where it is still parked just because a pack of vegetable oil was discovered in the truck.
All pleas to the Customs officials to release the rest of the goods fell on deaf ears despite the fact that the goods in the truck were jointly owned by several other traders who know nothing about the oil including my good self.
Presently, the Customs officers are demanding N3 million from the hapless traders, well over the value of the vegetables oils, before they will release the goods, otherwise they confiscate and auction off the goods with the truck. What a world!