My attention has been drawn to a very poor response by the PRO of the Nigerian Customs Service Mr Joseph Atta in reference to my public outcry at the selective punishment meted on me being only ONE of 600 passengers in 2 aircraft that landed at Abuja airport on that faithful morning of October 18, 2019. He in fact ended up implying to the public that I did not lie and I am relieved with that. Mr Joseph Attah has gone on to sell his lies to blogs who are publishing their lies with the intention to hide the evils that they do every day at that airport.
I have just 10 questions to ask the PRO of Nigerian Customs Service Mr Joseph Attah so Nigerians can see why I decided to stop keeping quiet about the happenings at our airports:
1. How many passengers were on the British Airways flight and the SECOND airline that landed at about 4.30 am at Abuja International Airport?
2. How many passenger’s suitcases did you search on the 2 flights that landed at the same time on that day?
3. Are you telling Nigerians that it is only ONE canvas and ONE boy bag that was seized and supposed to earn duty for the federal government on this day out of over 600 passengers in 2 aircrafts that landed at the same time? Note that I was among the first 10 passengers out of about 600 passengers in 2 aircrafts that arrived at the Custom point on that faithful day and the VERY LAST passenger to leave the airport from BOTH flights on this day. So, I can speak comfortably that not a single passenger on the 2 flights was booked.
4. How many items did Customs at the Abuja airport seize/detain for duty payment from these 2 flights for the Federal Government of Nigeria on October 18, 2019?
5. Does it mean that the TWO AIRCRAFTS carrying over 600 passengers had just this one shoe and one bag as the only dutiable items that landed Nigeria that faithful day?
6. You mentioned that I ought to have requested to see a Supervisor. Considering that I was among the first passengers to get to that Custom point and the very last to leave, how come this Supervisor did not come out all through this period to see how his/her people are working?
7. Does Customs have any protocol in place at the airports where travelers could seek succor when they feel ill-treated? If yes, please let Nigerians know where this advise is publicly published to help members of the public that are constantly being harassed and intimidated at the point of entry. We need a help line PUBLICLY displayed at all airports telling us who to call if we feel mistreated
8. Why do we have a maximum of $10,000 when travelling, PTA OF $4,000 AND n50,000/$138 maximum allowance on return?
9. Could this be deliberate to leave room for discretionary intimidation of innocent Nigerians by Customs men to enrich themselves and deprive the federal government of its revenue?
10. The law is made by legislators. The law is interpreted by the judiciary. If this N50,000 is law as stated by the Customs PRO in his response is enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria, where is this Supervisor that you referred to going to draw his own powers of ‘discretion’ which he exercised to about 600 passengers and only one person indicted.
It is obvious and the gospel truth that each of these 600 passengers had at least 2 suitcases but only one person was singled out with one shoe and one boy bag for this treatment. Is this the rule of law? The rule of law states EQUALITY before the law. Our Commander-In-Chief is an advocate of ZERO tolerance to corruption which was NOT displayed on that day. The Comptroller General of Customs is also reknown for his ZERO tolerance for corruption. With the incidents described by myself and your good self the Customs PRO, can these 2 leaders genuinely achieve their dream of ZERO tolerance for corruption and blocking revenue leakages with the lieutenants they have on ground today at this airport?
You talked about gender, I repeat that T. Abdulrahman (A man) co-opted Essien (A woman) who by the way I am shocked to learn that she is Abdulrahman’s superior – to join him and intimidate me but YOU Mr PRO craftily went completely silent on T. Abdulrahman who was a major bully on that day. He kept yelling at me, calling me names till I broke down and started crying. Unknown to them, my husband was on the phone all through my ordeal and he can release an audio of this situation if the need arises. Thank God there are CCTV cameras at the airport and I have many more pictures to share should the need arise.
Again, to further buttress the intimidation and wickedness of Essien and Abdulrahman towards my person on that day, WHY did they not deduct/give me credit for the N50,000 allowable while computing their punitive duty payment? Between, having bought the boy bag and canvas at the duty free shop, it means that those items were bought CHEAPER than the on-line published price by about 17%. I can show you proof that the bag which the Customs people priced at $1,100, higher than the canvas was indeed cheaper than the canvas from the same on-line shop they claimed to be their source. Only Essien and her staff know the website from where they picked their fictitious figures.
I would not have had any problems with paying duty on my items if only I saw just THREE people out of over 600 passengers from 2 aircrafts that were booked for duty payment alongside myself. This is why I questioned WHY I was singled out for this act of wickedness and intimidation. However, it seems that ‘discretion’ has made it impossible for Nigerian Government to earn duties on this faithful day from about 600 passengers.
Another primary reason for speaking out loud is to draw the attention of the Nigerian public (who are tired of being intimidated by Customs at this particular airport), Our dear Commander In Chief and the Comptroller General of Customs to revisit the deployment of these Custom men at this particular point at the Abuja International Airport who are interpreting the law with ‘discretion’ on the directives of the Customs PRO or whom it might concern as he has explained in his futile defense of this illicit practice of men working for him.
Innocent Nigerians are being exploited and put through immense torture as a result of this outdated N50,000.00 law.
These men of the Customs are apparently waiting eagerly for December to exploit and intimidate hundreds of Nigerians that will be coming home for Christmas and need to be deployed out immediately to save us from further embarrassment as a nation.
I am immensely humbled by the love, encouragement and support that 99% of Nigerians who read my story have shown me. They know I am not lying as I have countless experiences of several hundreds of innocent Nigerians in the hand of these Abuja International Airport Customs people. We also know that this evil must stop if our country must grow. They proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nigerians are GREAT people being held down by a few that are sabotaging the efforts of our leaders. Nigerians know the truth.
Finally, no matter how much you twist the events of that faithful morning, THE TRUTH WILL DEFINITELY OVER RULE THIS WICKEDNESS METTED TO ME ON OCTOBER 18, 2019.
Mrs Udensi – October 21, 2019