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Rice Sellers Protest after Customs Raided their Shops in Sango, Ogun State: Metro : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Rice Sellers Protest after Customs Raided their Shops in Sango, Ogun State

By: princepoint |Time : February 24, 2017, 03:56:27 AM
The raid of Sango Otta (Ogun State) Rice Garage on Tuesday night by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) sent “shivers down the spines” of Alaba Rago market rice sellers in Lagos.



The sellers, who expressed fear of a raid by officials of the Customs Service, had adopted more strategies to woo customers.

Thousands of bags of rice were said to have been carted away by the Customs officials.

Some of the sellers told the NAN on Thursday in Lagos that Customs officials ought to restrict their operations to the borders.

According to them, there is no reason for Customs to go into the markets to harass sellers whose business are to sell the commodity and fend for their families.

“We are sellers and not smugglers,’’ Titilope Dauda said.

Dauda moved her 95 bags of rice from the warehouse to an unknown depot for fear of being impounded.

“We source our products from the people that go to Seme to buy; we do not have anything to do with going to the border.”

“The Customs should restrict their onslaught to the entry points as coming into the markets will mean dispossessing us of our capital while the main culprits go free,’’ Dauda said.

Another seller, Haruna Dogo, said it was wrong for the operatives to invade the garage at night.

“If they (Customs officials) know that there is nothing shady in their act, they should come during the day time when everybody is there,’’ Dogo said.

A rice transporter, Gab Amadi, said he did not see anything illegal in what the sellers were doing to have warranted raids, not to talk of a night raid.

“What they are selling is a staple food in Nigeria and most of them are getting their products from intermediaries.”

“Therefore, if there is anything fishy in the trade, it is the main source of the product that the Customs should attack and not these daily income earners,” Amadi said.

The Federal Government, in 2016, banned importation of rice through the land borders.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, has promised to intervene in the rift after scores of rice traders stormed his office at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, in protest.

The traders chanted solidarity songs and carried placards bearing inscriptions disparaging the NCS.

The governor, who spoke through Bimbo Ashiru, his Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, called for restraint and suspension of all forms of protests while he mediates between the traders and the NCS.

On Wednesday, the rice sellers staged protest against the raiding of their markets by Customs officials.

They blocked both lanes of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Sango end.

The protest paralysed traffic and business activities in that axis for hours.

However, the NCS denied raiding their shops; they claimed that their operatives only raided a warehouse in the market where contraband goods were kept.

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