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Tension as Anambra govt arrests 4 IMAN taskforce members

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By Phil Okose, Onitsha

Tension is mounting over purported arrest of four taskforce members of Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, Anambra state chapter, and declaration of her chairman, Comrade Ojukwu Emeka, wanted, by the state commissioner for trade, commerce, markets and wealth creation, Uchenna Okafor, over their operations which he (commissioner) described as a scam.

The arrest followed alleged move by the taskforce to impound imported tyres in Nkpor market on the ground that the consignment did not have the required manifest.

Consequently, on a tip-off, the commissioner reportedly ordered the arrest of the four taskforce members.

Reacting to the arrest, the national patron of IMAN, Gilbert Obi, described the arrest as illegal and uncalled for adding that IMAN was a legitimate body saddled with the responsibility of checkmating the illegal importation of goods into the country on behalf of the federal government.

He said: “I am surprised that a commissioner in the state will open his mouth and call IMAN a scam. He made the accusation without proper consultation. I am happy the taskforce team that went for that job has video clips of what it did.”

“Some people who imported goods cleared them without papers to clear them. Things stocked inside the goods were not in the manifest. Before making such allegation, he has to find out the true position. At the end of the day, he will find out that those who gave him the false information told him lies”.

“Our national body will storm Onitsha from Abuja because of this ugly development. IMAN is a federal government issue and we have been operating in other states and I don’t see why Anambra should be an exception.”

Efforts made to contact the commissioner on phone proved abortive as he did not pick his call but his personal assistant, Juddy Jeff Nwabueze, when called, asked this reporter to come to the commissioner’s office in Awka, the state capital, adding that she was indisposed to speak on the issue.

Contacted on the arrest and alleged declaration of the IMAN chairman ‘wanted’, the state police public relations officer, PPRO, Mr Mohammed Haruna, said, “police is not aware of the arrest; confirm from the commissioner in question”.

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