Bodija Market: Senate Orders Probes Of Customs Midnight Raid Of Rice Shops

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Senate President, Ahmed Lawan

*as Rice Sellers petition Senate, wants Customs operatives  sanctioned 


By; BAYO AKAMO,  Ibadan


Weeks after the invasion of shops of  Rice Sellers at Bodija market in Ibadan by operatives of the Federal Operation Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Senate on Tuesday ordered probe of the Customs FOU invasion the shops 
New Nigerian gathered that this followed a petition to the Senate President by the  Ibadan Foodstuff Sellers Association over the invasion and carting away of about 3,600 bags of rice and other items worth  N85 million by the FOU operatives.
Upon receiving the petition, through the  Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Senator Kola Balogun, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan directed the Senator Ayo Akinyelure-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition for investigation to look into the alleged raiding of the Rice Sellers shops
Narrating the petition at the floor of the Red Chambers, Senator Balogun alleged that, 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. 
The Ibadan Foodstuff Sellers Association, in the petition stressed, “the above named association write to report the unfortunate night invasion of the Bodija International Market, Ibadan and the forceful breakage of the Rice traders’ shops by men of the Nigerian Customs, Ikeja Unit, Lagos on 31st March through 1st April, 2021. Our shops and warehouses were forcefully opened in our absence and the following items were carted away: 3,046 bags of Rice at N26,000 per bag – N79,196,000; 14 (Nos) 25kg Vegetable Oil; Cash of N4,862,000.00; and One (Nos) 15kg Bag of Gari. It is pertinent to report to you, Sir, that five (5 nos) shops still remain under special white padlock, the same that were put on the forcefully broke ones”, 
” The Ibadan Customs Unit has advised us not to unlock the locked shops for reasons unknown to us and owners of the shops have been rendered helpless. They cannot access their shops and neither can they trade in anything. Their families have been suffering . We seek the intervention of your highly esteemed office for the immediate return of all the items and cash carted away from from our shops and warehouses.”, they said

The Rice Sellers added, “we also seek for the Red Chamber’s investigation into the reasons behind the forceful raid on our shops. We demand that such raid should stop henceforth and this one should be the last of such action on the innocent peaceful traders in our market. We demand that tight security arrangements be put in place in the market by the government to protect our products after closure from business activities of the day to avoid looting of our shops by hoodlums who might want to follow the illegal footsteps of the men of the Nigerian Customs Service. ” 
“We demand that the Nigeria Customs should be warned against the use of the crude and cruel method of infringing on traders’ properties and products.That the action of the Nigeria Customs is seriously infringing on our rights to trade in legitimate items within the country as the midnight invasion violates all democratic principles.”

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