A Banker, Ada Udensi, has narrated how two Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, simply identified as Ms Essien and T. Abdulrahman, humiliated her at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on her return from a trip to the United Kingdom.
Udensi, who took to her Facebook page to narrate her ordeal, said she was questioned by the Customs Officers for returning to the country with a pair of trainers and a mini body bag.
She said they insisted she must pay duties of N175,000 on the goods.
She wrote: “Good afternoon my dear friends! Hope we are keeping well. I want to share my experience yesterday morning at the Abuja International Airport so you all are in the know of what is going on in our country, NIGERIA.
“I arrived Abuja from London yesterday October 18, 2019 at about 4.30am with ONE pair of trainers and ONE mini boy bag bought at the duty free shop in Heathrow (Please see pictures below).
“For the records, I am a banker. I am not a trader.
To my shock, Customs at Abuja airport headed by one Ms Essien and T. Abdulrahman said these do not qualify as personal effects and calculated duty payment of about N175,000 for me to pay. Most shocking to me was that I was the only passenger on that flight BA 083 from London that was singled out for this treatment.
“My question now is, what are Nigerians able to buy when they travel? Ms Essien says that Nigerians are only entitled to N50,000 worth of goods. Everything above N50,000 is considered luxury and dutiable. I pointed out to her that some one who had shoes had just been released by same Customs without any charge and to my shock she said that it’s because he put his feet in it already. So, I asked her that does it then mean that all I needed to do for this trainers not to be seized by Nigerian Custom was to simply remove it from the box and wear it and it seizes (ceases) to be a luxury good and duty exempt, she said ‘yes’. I told her that does this not then show her that this law enables her the opportunity to apply common sense when she sees Nigerians with just one trainers and one mini boy bag? She refused to answer. I asked her to allow me put my feet in my trainers and if it’s not my size, apply duty and she refused.
“Ms Essien and Tijani Adulrahman were so filled with hatred in such an airport that they refused to do the right thing. I was one of the first 10 passengers to disembark from the aircraft and get to Customs. I was the very last person to leave airport after my ONE pair of trainers and ONE mini boy bag had been seized and T. Abdulrahman was done ‘punishing’ me.
“As apolitical as I am having gone to a federal school in the north when federal schools were federal schools and was a Senior Prefect/Head Girl, I believe I was treated this way because of my gender and tribe. I literally wept for my country Nigeria yesterday.
“People like Tijani Abdulrahman and Essien are the very worst of the breed and have no reason to be found working in an airport like Abuja. He is an embarrassment to the country.
“We must rise up and condemn this outrageous dimension by the Nigerian Customs. We must rise up against this tyranny as a people. Today it is Adaeze. Tomorrow, it could be you. I rest my case. Please feel to share.”