- A Nigerian national based in the United States, Anthonia Nwaorie, has recounted her ordeal in the hands of the United States Customs and Border Protection officials
- The officials of the agency were said to have seized $41,377 from her
- According to her, she intended to use the money to build a medical clinic in Southern Nigeria
After nursing the dream of opening a medical clinic in Southern Nigeria for a decade, Anthonia Nwaorie, a Texas nurse, couldn't see it come to fruition as the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials seized $41,377 from her.
Nwaorie, a 59-year-old Nigerian national based in the US, was said to be on her way from Houston, Texas, to her hometown in Southern Nigeria in October 2017 when she was stopped by a CBP officer, Newsweek reports.
NAIJ.com notes that she said: “The officer started asking me questions: How much money do you have? How long have you been in the United States? I felt like a criminal that had just run the red light.”
The nurse, who immigrated to the US in 1982, said she told the officer that she was carrying $41,377 she had spent years saving up to open her clinic.
It was reported that Nwaorie failed to declare that she was leaving the country with more than $10,000, a technical requirement she said she was never aware of.
The US government has refused to return the money unless Nwaorie signs "hold harmless" agreement" promising she will not sue CBP over the incident and will pay back to the government the money spent while enforcing the agreement.
According to the nurse, if she refuses to sign, the agency has said it will claim that she "abandoned" her money and keep it without giving her a hearing.
Teeming up with the Institute of Justice, Nwaorie has decided to file a federal class action lawsuit against the government.
Nwaorie said in a statement: “The government took my money for no good reason and kept me from building a medical clinic that can provide healthcare to vulnerable women and children.
“Now they’re demanding that I sign away my rights to get back what has rightly belonged to me all along. I am an American, and I will not surrender my rights."
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the United States government said it would only engage the federal government in the repatriation of $500 million Abacha loot to Nigeria in a discussion based on government-to-government level.
A senior presidency sources said officials of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to the country that they would not deal with any third party in the restitution of the funds.
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