Food stuff dealers in Anambra State have raised alarm over alleged extortion from their members nationwide by workers attached to Federal Quarantine Service Post at Orokam, Makurdi and Katsina Ala, Benue state.
The group, under the agies of Federated Food Stuff Dealers Association of Nigeria (FFSDAN), with headquarters in Onitsha, called on Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, to urgency address the issue to forestall crises.
The petition addressed to Ogbe and copied to the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police in Benue State and others, was jointly signed by the group’s President General, Chief Christian Afiiaonwu, Secretary, Udoka Abukanna, Operational Officer, Sabastine Ageebee and Public Relation Officer, Adamu Alidu.
It condemned the Quarantine Post at Orokam, describing it as ATM to the workers through which it daily extorted money ranging from N3, 000 to N7,000 from their members since June 2018.
According to FFSDAN, Orokam Quarantine Post ought not to exist in the first place as there should not be three Quarantine Posts in one state.
The Petition read in part, “For your information sir, there are three Quarantine Posts in Benue State located at Makurdi, Katsina-Ala and Orokam.
“These Posts came into operation in June 2018 and have in recent time been turned into ATM at which money ranging from N3, 000 to N7,000 are extorted from our members on daily basis.
“These extortions are usually carried out with intimidation under the watchful eyes of security agencies mostly Police officers.
“The Association noted that its members are aware of the importance of Quarantine Posts which is primarily to checkmate the spread of animal diseases and unwholesome food stuff moving from one location to another and not to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public.
“We also know that Quarantine Posts are usually located at border areas between countries.
“We therefore wonder why the Quarantine Service Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is keeping quiet and apparently feeling comfortable seeing that people are extorting money from Food Stuff Dealers in three Federal Quarantine Posts located in one State.”
Describing as fraudulent and unacceptable the interception of their members at Orokam after being forced to pay at c and Katsina Ala Posts, the group appealed to the Minister to wade into the matter to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
“Vehicle conveying our goods have had several accident cases owing to strong barriers mounted before them by the Quarantine Posts workers in a bid to force them to stop.
“This is pure act of corruption which our members have vowed to resist henceforth if nothing is done to address the issue,” the group stressed.