Senate Asks Customs To Return Seized Rice, Cash In Ibadan Markets

It was earlier reported that the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) stormed Oja Oba market in Ibadan, Oyo State and carted away eight trucks of rice and money found in the shops of affected traders.

However, the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Tuesday, directed the Nigeria Customs Service to return the bags of rice and money which was forcefully taken from the traders.

This was after the Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Kola Balogun,  petitioned the upper chamber on behalf of the beleaguered traders last week.

According to the Chairman of the panel, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said, “Why do you allow the goods to come in through the borders and they find their way to the market of innocent citizens?”

“These people are retailers; they don’t have the capacity to import. There are no reasonable grounds for your people to go to the market in the thick of the night.  The market isn’t within 40km radius of the border.”

“We are appealing to the CG Customs to return the goods taken in Bodija and Oja Oba markets. They should return those goods within 15 days. Tell the CG to unlock their shops so that they can continue to do their business.”

Meanwhile, the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Garba Mohammmed, had defended the action of his officers.

He disclosed that, “Section 147 of the Customs Act has empowered us, for the purpose of carrying out the powers given to police officers, to search premises where there is ground to suspect that contraband were concealed, whether day or night.”

“The seizure was based on intelligence gathering. We don’t intend to put people out of business,” he added.

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Esther Ifeoluwa

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