FIWON decries harassment, extortion by security personnel in Borno
The Federation of Informal Workers’ Organization of Nigeria, (FIWON), has decried increasing harassment, intimidation and extortion of its members by security personnel in Borno state.
Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary, FIWON, stated this while speaking to news men on a sideline workshop organised by Solidarity Centre, an NGO in Maiduguri on Sunday.
Komolafe said that his members were victims of all form of dehumanization all cadres of security personnel in the state.
Komolafe lamented arbitrary taxation, extortion, and harassment by security agencies at various checking point in the Northeast.
He claimed that security personnel deployed to various areas in the state, often demand for customs duties from transportation of fish from Baga, noting that “as if they are imported commodities from another country.
The Scribe noted that the inhuman treatment vented on its members had exposed them to hardship and crippled their businesses.
“As socio economic activities and life begin to pick up in Borno, it is sad to note that uniform personnel are making life more difficult for the traders in the state.
“There are about one million traders which cut across transporters and other traders in the state. This value chain has helped in employing millions of youth and revamping the country’s economy especially in the Northeast.
“Also truck drivers are forced to pay N200,000 as customs duties by security men on patrol on major highways leading to the state.
“We called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to investigate these allegations, unravel and punish the culprit involved in these nefarious activities,” said Komolafe.
Komolafe said that the union was working with the American Center For Solidarity to train Non-Formal Workers on labour activities to enable them demands for their right from government and the authorities.
He appealed to government at all levels to intervene and address the problem.
Mrs Nkechi Odinukwe, the Senior program Officer, America Centre for International Labour Solidarity (ACILS), also complaint that the informal sector was the worst hits by Boko Haram, adding that artisans, like vulcanizers, traders, butchers and barbers were affected.
Odinukwe said that the workshop was designed to improve living conditions and promote equitable, sustainable development, to empower workers to confront and challenge global systems, to implement projects to prevent human
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer, Borno Command, Edot Okon said the police would investigate the allegation raised by the group.
Okon advised the association to channel their grievances to the Police Public Complain Response Unit for prompt action.
He said that Nigeria Police Force was guided by international core values of policing with integrity and also ensure the rule of law is upheld.
Okon said “We can just sit down and believe such allegation until we do our findings. I can assure you that we shall investigate issue raised to the logical conclusion.