A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed October 7 to hear a N51,818,664 suit by a former member of Nigeria’s junior national basketball team, David Odeh, against the Nigerian Customs for alleged extortion.

Odeh, a United States-based Civil Rights Administrator for the University of Maryland in America, made the demands in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/128/18.

The Nigerian Customs Service Board and the Comptroller-General, Nigerian Custom Service are the first and second defendants.

Odeh, in a July 30, 2018 written statement on oath made through his brother Benjamin Odeh, alleged that Customs defrauded him by compelling him pay custom duty twice on a 2008 Mazda CX9 car.

He averred that he lost N1,818,664 in the process.

Odeh said: “The plaintiff had a Mazda car CX9 2008 Model with Chassis No. JM3TB28V580146268 car for clearing at the Tin Can Island Port Lagos, imported into Nigeria with a bill of lading No. AES 69882.

“The vehicle’s custom duty was assessed by custom officials at the Tin Can Island port Lagos, duty paid and due process followed and the said car eventually cleared by officials of customs before delivery to the plaintiff.”

According to him, the vehicle passed through all statutory required stages of port clearance at the Tin Can Island Port, including payment of assessed duty of N384,505.

But that the car was intercepted at Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, on its way to Benue State, “impounded and detained for over a week by custom officials of Federal Unit Operation of the same custom service that assessed and cleared the car on allegation of ‘Under assessment’”

The plaintiff was then was then made to pay another N750,664 and that he incurred other expenses raising the total sum to N1,818,664.

But the defendants denied the claims and filed a preliminary objection to the suit.

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