ABUJA: Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) on Monday disclosed that it has written to the office of the Inspector General of Police, and the Office of the National Security Adviser, seeking proper investigation into the arrests of its task force operatives by the Lagos State Police Command.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Amb. Chijioke Okoro, the Director General of the IMAN Special Taskforce, noted that there has been an unfortunate misunderstanding between its operatives and officers of the Lagos State Police command leading to arrests of members of the organization.
He, however, stated that these issues had already attracted the attention of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who has directed proper investigation into the unlawful arrest of IMAN Special Taskforce operatives.
According to the IMAN boss, in a recent video made public by the Punch, the Lagos State Police command had paraded some operatives of the IMAN Special Taskforce, who they claimed were illegally operating at the Lagos ports.
Amb. Okoro called for urgent and unhindered investigation into the arrest and unnecessary public ridicule of its men, while insisting that he has written to the office of the Inspector General of Police, and the office of the National Security Adviser, and has gotten due clearance that the issues would be investigated.
He further stated that the DSS has been notified of the unwarranted intrusion in IMAN’s duties.
The IMAN Special Taskforce was inaugurated by the President Yar’Adua administration and has been operating legally with full backings of Nigeria’s security agencies.
Giving insights into the alleged arrests of operatives of IMAN, the Director General insisted that there was an alleged importation of a banned substance into the country, by an importer, after which its operatives swung into action to intercept the container laden with the banned substances.
“Having impounded the container, and while waiting for further security directives, the operatives were surprisingly arrested by men of the Lagos State police command, and paraded before members of the press.
He said that some unscrupulous individuals allegedly influenced the arrest.
“Even after the arrest, the IMAN special taskforce approached the courts for bail of its operatives. Having gotten judgment in its favor, the court issued an order for the IMAN Special Taskforce operatives to be given bail, an order that was serially, flagrantly disobeyed by the Lagos State police command. However, the operatives were recently released after the CP Lagos State was charged for contempt of court” he said.
Okoro claimed that the arrest of members of IMAN Task force, was a ploy to protect the interest of some illegal importers specialized in the importation of banned and illegal substances into the country.
He challenged the Nigeria Customs Service to play its role justly and fairly, without connivance with illegal importers, which they as IMAN Special Taskforce also have a mandate to checkmate.
He further stressed that there is a court order stopping every security agencies from interrupting with their activities, as their role is to support the government to grow the economy by ensuring their members import genuinely.
Also speaking, Alh. Aliyu Yar’Adua, the Secretary General of the IMAN special taskforce, who also doubles as a BOT member and Founding member, added that unemployment has been the major bane of our country, and so the necessity to move Nigeria to greater heights is indispensable through checkmating importers taking undue advantage of the economy.
He insisted that the IMAN Special Taskforce is an institution recognized by the Federal Government of Nigeria, whose ultimate goals are hinged on honesty and transparency.
He stated also that their doors are open for everyone to join its fold to ensure that smugglers are brought to book.