Clearing agents threaten to embark on strike over alleged extortion
Clearing and forwarding agents in Nigeria have threatened to shut down their activities at seaports and airports across the country over alleged police extortion and intimidation by operatives attached to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Team, the IGP Squad on Pipeline Vandalisation and the Maritime Police Unit of the force.
The aggrieved members lamented that operatives of the various teams and squads set up by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had since abandoned their official duty posts and were obstructing trucks laden with containers, carrying out duty inspection on goods already cleared by Customs officials and framing up charges against their members with a view to extorting them.
“We pay between N500, 000 to N1million per container or trailer to the Maritime Police Department, IG Monitoring Team and the IG Anti Vandalisation Squad, all the outfits are stationed at the Force headquarters Annex, Kam Salem House, Obalende. We are crying out because the excesses of these IG Special Squad and operatives of the force are becoming a threat to the economy, to the ports activities across the country and to our businesses. Let the Inspector General of Police, Idris, call his officers and men attached to each of these squads to order or we would be forced to ground activities at the ports,” said Prince Alex Jones Chiamaka, a senior member and spokesman of the body.
According to him, “at any point a truck is contravened, the police operatives would drive the truck to a dark alley away from preying eyes and commence negotiations, after the intimidation. The agents are asking the IG to investigate our claims and bring the defaulting officers to book.”
“These huge sums of money they extort from our members are beside the weekly, monthly and daily payments made to the police in these three arms of the IG’s team and unit, For instance, every week, we pay the several teams\ squads of IG, settle the operatives of NSCDC, OP Mesa of the military among other agencies and all these payments have to be factored into the costs of the goods and this is just one of the causes of increase in prices of items even when the dollar is a downward trend,” he explained further.