Residents of Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State have raised the alarm over alleged worsening cases of extortion by men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) while carrying out their legitimate businesses.
The residents under the auspices of Jibia Youth Vanguard Forum, alleged that the presence of the Customs officers mounting roadblocks on highways to extort traders and motorists, had systematically killed their businesses.
New Telegraph reports that Jibia was a border town between Nigeria and Niger Republic, where smugglers hat resorted to the use of illegal routes to ferry in bags of foreign rice, bales of secondhand clothing and other contrabands.
Chairman of Jibia Youth Vanguard Forum, Nasir Almustapha Danye, while addressing journalists yesterday, accused officers of the Nigeria Customs Service of barricading highways only to extort motorists and traders. He insisted that customs officers have laid siege on the Katsina-Jibia road, where they regularly divert trucks conveying goods to their office on frivolous accusation of engaging in illicit export.
He alleged that the prevailing extortion by customs officers and other security personnel was not only detrimental to trade facilitation and ease of doing business, but was crippling the economy and impacting negatively on residents of the area.
He said the security personnel, rather than ensuring stricter adherence to border closure and addressing the wave of smuggling bedeviling the border town, they were busy extorting money from legitimate businessmen and women.
He said: “There are more than 40 checkpoints between Jibia to Katsina being manned by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, police, Immigration and NSCDC, but they are doing nothing rather than extortion.
“If you buy a truck of maize from Katsina, you spend more than N100,000 settling security personnel on the road before you get to Jibia town.
The same thing with rice, flour and cement and even drugs that are meant to treat patients.