South East Revival Group (SERG) has
backed call by former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, urging the Federal
Government to end impunity by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Operatives of the NCS are
reportedly subjecting Igbo travellers to hardship by seizing rice meant for
household consumption at its numerous checkpoints in the region.
SERG, in a statement by its
national coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu alleged that the Customs also seize
cars already cleared at Lagos ports by its men on allegation that they under
paid the duties.
“We are solidly behind the call by
our leader, former governor Peter Obi, who was courageous enough to urge the
Federal Government to stop the harassment of Ndigbo travelling for the Christmas
and New Year celebrations.
“At a time there is hunger in the
land, we wonder why Customs will inflict economic losses on already impoverished
families in the South East.
“Wharfs and borders should be where
importation of any banned commodity should be stopped. You do not harass and
dispossess hungry people of their food when you failed to do your job at the
borders,” SERG said.
Meanwhile, President of Ohanaeze in Imo State,
Ambassador Azuka Akpelu said it was not surprising that Customs officials have
been extorting Ndigbo coming home for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
He noted that it was not only the
Customs but the police were also involved.
He pointed out that it was only in
the South East that the Customs would impound goods especially textile
materials which were bought in Kano and Kaduna and label it contraband.
“I am not the least surprise about
reports that the officials of the Customs have been harassing Igbo whose only
offence is coming home to celebrate the Christmas with their people.
“It is only here that goods that
are bought in Kano or Kaduna states especially textile materials are impounded
at Onitsha by the Customs as contraband and you ask yourself, is it when it
gets to the South East that it becomes contraband?”
He equally alleged that policemen
even bribe their ways just to serve in the South East states where they have
free reign to extort the hapless people.
Also, leader of the Movement for
the Actualisation of a Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu has
said the extortion and harassment of Igbo on our highways would continue unless
the state of Biafra is created.
Speaking in a joint press
conference yesterday, Madu commended Obi for speaking out and for taking the
pains to travel by road from East to Lagos.
“It shows he is a good leader. We
also condemn the ugly experiences our people undergo in the hands of security
“It still boils down to the same
thing MASSOB has been fighting; because Nigeria security agencies not just
Customs, always see Igboland and its people as a fertile platform to enrich
themselves through dubious means.
“What Peter Obi saw is what has
been happening to our people for a long time; there has been daily harassment
of Igbo’s along these roads and it has become part of us.
“The only solution is Biafra
because no amount of crying or complaints can stop the harassment it will continue
all over the South-East.
“Our people should therefore
support MASSOB and other pro Biafra group in the struggle for Biafra.”