Dealers of dried meat in Onitsha, Anambra State have raised the alarm over alleged extortion and siezure of their goods worth N50m by unidentified persons claiming to be agents of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The traders under the agies of Dried Meat Preservers Traders Association of Nigeria, also allege invasion of their donkey skin processing camps across the states in the country.
Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Onitsha, headquarters of the association, Chairman of Onitsha branch, Mr Ikechukwu Aniude said the body had sent a Save Our Soul message to the Federal Government over the plight of the members.
Anuide spoke in company of his Sokoto State counterpart, Hamza Ahmed, and those of Gombe, Sani Ahmed, Borno, Kadiri Abubakar and Oyo state, Alhaja Yawa Idi.
He said, “No fewer than 1,600 pieces of donkey skin worth over N50 million we processed for sale, was on June 26, 2020 seized from our processing camp in Yauri Kebbi State, by some men who claimed to be officials of Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services, with headquarters in Enugu.
“They have been extorting between N200,000 to N800,000 from us with the allegation that we are illegal exporters, and threatening to jail us if we refuse to comply with them.
“We are not into exporting business, our business is registered with Corporate Affairs Commission. We have over 1million people doing the business across the states in Nigeria.
“For the past three weeks now, we shot our camps and shops in protest and to avoid further extortion and seizure of our goods until we get explanation from the Federal Government of what we are doing wrong.
Our worry is that the people that extort us and seize our goods refuse to properly identify themselves nor tell us where their office is located and where they are taking our goods to; they only tell us their headquarters is in Enugu and we have not been able to locate them anywhere in the State.
“We therefore, demand from the Federal Government what our offenses are. We also demand the location of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services so we can know the state of our seized goods.”
Credit: The Nation