By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
Rice dealers at the popular Bodija market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Thursday took to the main gate of the Agodi State Secretariat to protest and demand justice on the invasion and carting away of thousands of bags of rice, cash, and good worth millions of naira by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The protesters, who besieged the Secretariat in high emotions and teary countenance said about 88 shops were burgled by officials of NCS at the Bodija market after all traders had closed for the day and gone to home.
Some of the affected traders while narrating their ordeal lamented that the money invested in the businesses was loan yet to be repaid, just as they called on governments at all levels to assist them on the matter
Responding, the Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Oyo/Osun Command, Mr. Wey Kayode who confirmed the incident said it was a normal routine operation carried out by the headquarters of NCS in Abuja.
Kayode explained that the operation was totally based on standard regulation to rid the country of contraband goods.
On the allegation that officials of NCS took about N27million in three shops with the imported rice, he maintained that only imported rice were carted away.
Addressing the aggrieved traders, the Executive Assistant to the governor on Security, Mr. Sunday Odukoya said that the state government had intervened on the development which indicated that the operation was not done by the Oyo/Osun Command of Customs Service.
Odukoya appealed for calm among the affected traders, adding that the state government would further look into the matter.