Customs Raid: Gov. Amosun Promises To Step In

Gov. Amosun
Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State

By Ogbolu George

Ibikunle Amosun, the Ogun State Governor, on Thursday, promised to look into the dispute between Sango-Ota rice sellers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operation Unit, Ikeja, Lagos.

The Sango-Ota rice sellers had stormed the Governor’s Office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta to protest the invasion of their shops by men of the Nigerian Customs on Wednesday morning.

The protesters, who displayed various placards with different inscriptions, were led by some markets leaders, among who were the Babaloja of Sango Marketers Association, Shakirudeen Olasege and the Coordinator of the rice sellers, Wakilat Salako.

Closed door meeting

The governor, who held a closed-door meeting with the leaders, told them he had started the intervention process since Wednesday when the incident happened.

He urged the market association to suspend their protest, saying that the government had contacted the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service Col. Hameed Ali (retd.).

Bimbo Ashiru, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry who represented Amosun, said ”I have heard about what happened at the Sango-Ota market. The state government will intervene. In fact, we have started doing something about it.

”As part of our efforts, we have contacted the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service. As we speak now, the Secretary to the State Government (Taiwo Adeoluwa) is in Abuja over the matter.

”When the Adire sellers had this kind of problem, the state government intervened and the problem was resolved. In this matter too, we will intervene. But I want to appeal to you to remain calm and suspend all manner of protest.”

Only 1,870 bags of rice were taken- Customs

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Customs Services authorities have denied breaking into the shops.

The Federal Operating Unit, Ikeja, Lagos, Public Relations Officer, Jerome Attah, had stated that the operatives only took away 1,870 bags of rice.

”We hired seven trucks to evacuate the smuggled bags of rice. Our men did not break into any shop,” Attah said.

He said that the unit had been tracking the activities of smugglers in the area before they raided the shops.

Attah said the smugglers had been using motorcycles to transport smuggled bags of rice.

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