By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have knocked the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) and other security agencies for the continuous seizure of farm produce at the Badagry border, calling on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to organise stakeholders meeting between the Customs and business owners of the confiscated goods.
The House also asked the governor to direct the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon (Mrs) Lola Akande, to organise the meeting between the Customs and business owners affected by the seizure.
The resolutions were made following a motion tittled ‘ Seizure Of Locally Sourced Coconut Product And Harassment Of Coconut Sellers/Traders By The Men Of The Nigeria Custom Service’ moved by Hon. Setonji David, representing Constituency Badagry II, during plenary session on Tuesday, over the confiscation of farm produce by the Customs officers in the area.
David in his motion called on Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali, to direct his men to stop further harassment of coconut sellers within Badagry and its environs.
He said his people were passing through hell with the continuous harassment of members of Lagos State Coconut Sellers and Traders Association by Customs officials in Badagry.
The lawmaker said the Comptroller should direct coordinator, Border Drill Operations Team, Zone A Ikeja, to immediately release the seized two trucks and pickup load of 1,450 bags of locally sourced coconut.
“On the Oct. 27, two trucks and a pick-up car load of 1450 bags of locally sourced coconut on transit was seized by the men of Nigeria Customs Border Drill Operations Zone A Ikeja. The seizure took place at the Agbara Customs Point, after it had left the popular Agbalata Central Coconut Market beside the Customs base in Badagry”, said David
While commenting, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said the activities of Customs in Badagry was condemnable and overzealousness on it part.
He said the action of the service could discourage the local farmers from performing their legitimate work in the area.
Also, Hon. Olayiwola Olawale, representing Constituency Mushin II, who rose to support the prime mover of the motion, sympathized with the affected residents.
Olawale said he was worried because the seizure products were not contraband products.
A first term lawmaker, Hon. Ajani Owolabi, representing Lagos Mainland I, urged relevant authorities to access the locally products from the foreign products that had been restricted from coming into the country.
On his part, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said the activities of the Customs were affecting the farmers in the area.
Agunbiade said the way people were being harassed shows that something was wrong between the Customs and the business owners of farm products in the area.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, to communicate the resolutions of the House to the governor for further action.