*it is condemnable. – Chairperson Rice Sellers
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
One month after the night raid on Bodija Rice Sellers shops at Bodija market in Ibadan, Customs men suspected to be operatives of the Federal Operation Unit early Saturday invaded Orita Merin Market in Ibadan and carted away eight trucks of rice suspected to be imported and smuggled into the country.
New Nigerian gathered that the armed FOU Customs operatives stormed the Orita Merin – Ojaba Market reportedly breaking one shop after the other, carting away bags of rice from the shops into the waiting eight trucks through their loaders.
It was learnt that the FOU operatives during the early morning raid were allegedly shooting sporadically in and around the market chasing out all the local hunters guarding the market.
The FOU operatives were said to have resisted all efforts by few of the traders that attempted ascertaining the mission of the operatives at the market.
Speaking with the New Nigerian on Sunday, the Chairpersons of Bodija Rice Sellers, Alhaja Ronke Oyebamiji Ojasope confirmed the early morning raid on shops of Rice Sellers at Orita merin and Ojaba markets in Ibadan.
Alhaja Ojasope while frowning at the incessant raid of Rice markers in Ibadan said she was at the markets to see things for herself adding that the raid and the conduct of the FUO operattives stands condemnable .
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer of NCS, FOU Zone A, Mr. Theophilus Dunia confirmed the invasion of the Orita merin and Ojaba markets in Ibadan, saying, ” Customs is empowered to carry out such operation.”
” You are aware that the federal government imposed ban on importation of foreign rice to encourage local production in the country. As it stands, foreign rice is a contraband and the law is that we should go after contraband anywhere in the country”, he said.
Dunia added, ” the act that established the service empowers officers to carry out such operation. To break into any shop or warehouse upon reasonable suspicion that prohibited goods are stored in such a place, we evacuate them. That is what happened. This is Federal Operation Unit Zone A in charge of South West zone.”.
Dunia however frowned at allegations that the Customs raid of markets are limited to the South West with the alleged intention to paralyze the region’s economy, such an allegations are not true
” It is not true that the raid is focused on South West alone. There has been similar operations in Kano and Katsina, that I know. Whoever is saying such is being mischievous. It is mischievous to say South West is the target. Customs sees Nigeria as one, Customs is same all over Nigeria”, he said.