Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Saturday invaded the Oja Oba market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, carting away eight truckloads of rice.
This is coming one month after customs invaded Bodija market and carted away some bags of rice.
Recall that the Senate mandated the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the alleged invasion of Rice Traders’ shops by men of the Nigerian Customs that resulted in the carting away of goods to the tune of N85 million.
This followed receipt of a petition from the Ibadan Foodstuff Sellers Association addressed to the Senate President through Senator Kola Balogun representing Oyo South Senatorial District.
According to the lawmaker, 3,046 bags of rice worth N79,196,000; 25kg vegetable oil numbering 14; cash of N4,862,000; and 15kg bags of Gari were carted away by men of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) during a forceful invasion of shops in the absence of traders.
Another invasion came up before the conclusion of the investigation by the committee.
Public Relations Officer of Oyo/Osun Customs Command, Kayode Wey, when contacted, confirmed the invasion.
He, however, said that the operation was carried out by Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Zone A.
“It is the FOU. They are not our people. It is the FOU that went to the Bodija market the last time.
“It is the same FOU, we do not know anything about it. We do not have any information on it. I am hearing it the same way you are hearing it.”
Public Relations Officer of NCS, FOU Zone A, Mr. Theophilus Duniya also confirmed the invasion.
Duniya in a telephone conversation with on Saturday noted that the customs is empowered to carry out such operation.
“Yes. Until we examine them. You are aware that the federal government imposed a ban on importation of foreign rice to encourage local production in the country.
“As it stands, foreign rice is a contraband and the law empowers us, the act that established the service empowers officers to carry out such operations.
“To break into any shop or warehouse upon reasonable suspicion that prohibited goods are stored, we evacuate them. That is what happened.
“This is Federal Operation Unit Zone A in charge of South West zone.”.