A group known as the Federated Food Stuff Dealers Association of Nigeria (FFSDAN) has called on the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, to quickly address the notorious extortion from their members nationwide by workers attached to Federal Quarantine Service Post located at Orokam, Makurdi and Katsina-Ala both in Benue state.
Concise News reports that the association informed the minister that the said posts have literally become ‘ATM machines’ to the workers as they extort money ranging from N3,000 to N7,000 from their members daily since June 2018.
The FFSDAN strongly condemns the Quarantine Post at Orokam which they said ought not to exist in the first place since they insisted that there should not be three Quarantine Posts in one state. Their call was contained in a petition addressed to the minister and copied to the Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu; the Commissioner of Police in Benue state and others. It was also made available to journalists on Thursday.
The petition was signed by the President General of the association, Chief Christian Afiiaonwu; Secretary, Udoka Abukanna; Operational Officer, Sebastian Ageebee and the Public Relations Officer, Adamu Alidu.
Part of the petition reads: “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 machine at which money ranging from N3,000 to N7,000 are extorted from our members on a daily basis.
“These extortions are usually carried out with intimidation under the watchful eyes of security agents mostly Police officers.”
The FFSDAN states that its members are aware of the importance of Quarantine Posts which is primarily to checkmate the spread of animal diseases and unwholesome foodstuff moving from one location to another and not to extort money from unsuspecting members of the public, adding that Quarantine Posts are usually located at border areas between countries.
While calling on the minister to quickly wade into the matter to prevent a breakdown of law and order, the FFSDAN claims that vehicles conveying their 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.
The association insists that such an act was “pure act of corruption” which its members have vowed to resist henceforth if nothing is done to address the issue and find a lasting solution.