Lagos State-based businessman, Ayodele Oluwaseun, has cried out over the alleged theft of hides and skin worth $252,000 which he imported from Venezuela between November 28, 2022 and March 30, 2023.
According to Oluwaseun, he was allegedly hoodwinked and defrauded of the goods by a Kano-based businessman Alhaji Maniru Garba with the connivance of International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) officers.
The importer appealed to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and civil society organisations to help him recover his money or his goods and bring the alleged fraudsters to justice.
Oluwaseun in a petition dated January 20, 2023 through his lawyer, Segun Ojienoh to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos, said four containers loaded with the hides and skins were hijacked by Alhaji Garba through the active connivance of Interpol personnel.
According to him, he obtained all the necessary original documents for the goods and the importation was to be done in two consignments of four containers each.
While the first batch of four containers were expected to arrive Lagos, Nigeria which was the point of delivery by November, 2022, the second consignment of four containers were expected by March 2023 via Lome, Togo which was the point of delivery.
The petition read, “When our client proceeded to clear the goods from the Ports, they were told that the containers had holds placed on them that were barring them from proceeding with the clearing. As a result of this, the containers started incurring demurrage.
“Upon investigation, it was discovered that it was the duo of Alhaji Maniru Garba, who is said to live in Kano and Ayuba Hussaini Muhammed, their organisation, Hen-NGO that placed holds on the containers.
“Upon our client’s contact with them, they told our clients that they were also importers of hides and skin and are in the same line of business. They told our clients that the exporters owe them some money. Our Clients made it categorically clear to them that that ought to be a private business between them and the exporters and urged them to remove the hold from the containers so that clearing same can be seamless to which it seemed to Our Clients that they agreed.”
The lawyer alleged that Muhammed approached Oluwaseun with the promise of an amicable settlement of the debacle and persuaded him to release the original papers of the importation to a third party that they all trusted, Mr Nwankwo Chuka Kevin. Oluwaseun was also persuaded to pay clearing and demurrage fees of N32million.
He added, “Our Clients complied with all these conditions. Upon the release of the goods, Ayuba Hussaini Muhammed and Alhaji Maniru Garba used military men to scare our Client’s agent, Mr Adekola Ibrahim Olanrewaju, away and took the containers to an unknown destination.
“All these events happened from November 28, 2022, when the ship arrived to the 12th of January when they were released.
“Also For fear that my client may face similar intimidation, threat to life and criminal conversion of property, I formally wrote to the FCID Unit of the Nigeria Police Force through the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Alagbon Close, Lagos in a letter dated 20th January 2023, wherein I petitioned Alhaji Maniru Garba, Ayuba Hussaini Muhammed and Mr. Nwankwo Chuka Kelvin of criminal conversion, intimidation and detinue of four containers filled with hides and skin worth $168,000.
“But rather than the FCID department to treat my petition with the desired attention, the International Criminal Police Organization, Nigeria (INTERPOL) took over the petition and despite the fact that JO International Consultants C.A who undoubtedly is the exporter of all eight containers of animal skin duly purchased by my client, wrote to the Togo INTERPOL on the 14th of March 2023, informing INTERPOL of my client’s true ownership of the containers when the second batch of containers arrived Lome in Togo, Alhaji Maniru Garba who boasted of being a close friend to AIG Umar Garba the Vice President of INTERPOL African and head of Interpol Nigeria, used INTERPOL Nigeria to intercept the second batch of containers.
“Following orders from above from INTERPOL Nigeria, two of the containers in the second shipment worth $84,000 (Eighty Four Thousand Dollars) were delivered to Alhaji Maniru Garba’s warehouse despite the fact that all importation documents were in the name of my client who had paid all clearing and demurrage fees as well as customs duties on all four containers.
“I appeal to the general public, local and international human right groups, the Nigerian Bar Association, Civil Liberty Organisation and all persons of conscience and goodwill to come to my aid as Alhaji Maniru Garba has sworn to use his wide range of connections in INTERPOL and the Nigeria Military to illegally convert my goods to his, seize my importation documents and sworn that I can’t do anything because I am a nobody and not widely connected as him since he knows people at the corridors of power in Nigeria. To date, I do not know the location of my goods as I was merely asked to bail an empty container having carted away my goods and handed them to Alhaji Maniru Garba.”
Alhaji Garba cut several calls put across to his line. He also did not respond to text messages informing him of and seeking his response to Oluwaseun’s allegations.