What I fear most is power with impunity. I fear abuse of power, and the power to abuse.
— Isabel Allende
The latest corruption in town is Customs officials (without name tags) stopping vehicles on the highway to ask for customs papers.
There was a time the famous Comptroller General who refused to wear his customs uniform to attend a summon from legislators announced that they would be stopping vehicles at random to check if the correct custom duties was paid.
He advised all car owners to regularize their custom car payment, or risk having their car impounded.
I am not sure if that order is still in force or had been rescinded.
I also encountered them on my way out of town last weekend.
I had to engage the guy who stopped me in a shouting match.
He was shown the purchase document for the car issued by Coscharis Motors. I’m no importer.
He eventually let me go and advised that next time, we should just say that the car was assembled locally and so does not have Customs paper (rather than try to argue.)
Strange that I was asked for Customs paper on a car bought years ago from a major dealership.
They also stopped me two Saturdays ago on my way to out of town too, telling me my customs papers are not genuine.
They demanded for ₦500k. Imagine!
Luckily for me, I was able to call somebody who called somebody to come and bail me out and they ended up not collecting a dime from me .
Yet another had this to say,
It is a sick country all right.
My wife was once invited for questioning by officials of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) for dealing in fake kitchenware items.
She is not a wholesaler or major distributor. She buys from Lagos Island, and retails.
Why would SON officials be arresting those that just go to Lagos Island to buy things for retail? Why not tackle the major importers at the right point (if those articles are indeed fake or substandard)?
All her explanations were abortive. She had to report to the SON office at Ajah., or risk being arrested.
It was just the grace of God that she escaped without paying a kobo. The report of what goes in on that office made my blood boil.
STANDARDS organization of Nigeria? That’s a laugh. I hope things are significantly better in a place like NAFDAC where the safety of imported Food and Drugs is determined …
I truly hope certification is not just a matter of cash and carry.
There have been cases of custom officials stopping people traveling to the Eastern part of the country, confiscating bags of rice, claiming the rice was contraband.
I don’t get this.
There have even been cases of those same officials breaking peoples shops at night, and carting away bags of rice, claiming they are banned items.
Ditto for those selling used tyres.
If this is not abuse of power and sheer brigandage, what else is?
Certainly, someone needs to call these uniformed guys to order.
We cannot claim to be fighting corruption and things like these keep happening with no repercussion.
It is a deep stain on the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, as these acts of indiscipline are also acts of corruption .