Nigerien Customs releases relief materials for Nigerian refugees

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By Brendan Umoren

The Nigerien Douanes (Customs) at Konni, a border town, has released the seized relief materials meant for Nigerian refugees residing in Niger Republic.

The six trucks were heading to the refugees camp at Gidan Runji, Maradi state of Niger Republic when they were intercepted and impounded on Monday.

The relief materials, which were being conveyed to the refugees by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), were released at about 8 30 p.m on Tuesday.

The items were released after NEMA officials had paid 120, 000 CF which is equivalent to about N66, 000 to a private clearing agent to obtain another transit permit.

The trucks left Nigeria through Illela border on their way to the beneficiaries who were victims of banditry attacks in Sabon Birni and Isa Local Government Areas of Sokoto state.

The victims relocated to Gidan Runji community in Maradi state, Niger after the attacks.

Relevant authorisation from Niger Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs were duly obtained by Nigerian Consulate before the trucks left Nigeria.

The Nigerien Douanes in Konni, however, insisted that original waiver documents on the goods should be provided as NEMA officials only had photocopies of the papers.

When an official of Nigerian Consulate showed up with the documents on Tuesday morning, the Douanes insisted that transit permission should also be presented.

The Consular official, Mr John Usman, along with NEMA Head of Operation in Sokoto, Mr Kofoworola Soleye and an official of Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency, Mr Bashir Sokoto have to consult the Chairman of Konni district and presented the waiver permit documents.

In spite of the Chairman’s intervention, the Douanes officials directed officials to obtain the private transit permit before the release and also attached a security officer to escort the trucks.

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