According to reports, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has asked rice traders at the popular Sango market, Ogun State, to come forward with documents to show that their seized wares were cleared from the Nigerian Seaports.
This was disclosed by the public relations officer of the Federal Operations Unit A, Ikeja, Jerry Attah, over the weekend.
Recall that the federal government has placed a ban on importation of rice through the land borders saying rice can only be imported into the country through the seaports.
Attah, who also debunked allegations that the Customs Officers who raided the market carted broke into shops said the officers only raided a warehouse where the contraband were deposited.
He said, “For the umpteenth time, I have said anyone who have document to show that the seized items were cleared from the seaports should come around to claim their wares.”
When asked how the contrabands were brought into the country without it being seized at the border, Attah said the rice were brought in through speeding motorbikes popularly known as Okada.
“The rice are carried through the border with bikes and transferred into waiting vehicles. You see some of this Okada riders having three, four bags of rice.
“Also, people who board public transport who move with one or two bags claiming they buy inother to consume, that is how they come into Nigeria.”
Attah who also disclosed that the Duty Paid Value on the rice is N12.4million said the unit seized 1,870 bags of rice and 43 kegs of groundnut oil.
Recall that the FOU A Ikeja on Wednesday stormed the Sango market where it carted away bags rice and and kegs of groundnut oil which they said were smuggled into the country.
The raid did not go down well with the rice dealers who took to the ever busy Abeokuta- Sango expressway in protest blocking vehicular movement. The protest also paralysed business activities at the popular, Sango market as commuters were left stranded at various bus stop.
Speaking, the leader of the market Women, Alhaja W. Salako said the Customs officers came in the middle of the night broke into their shops to cart away rice worth several million of naira. She said “they came in the middle of the night, broke into our shops and left with 15 trailers of rice and give Hilux load of rice.”
Alhaja Salako said about four other traders are already in the hospital receiving treatment over shock of the raid. “They broke our safes; carted our monies and now, four of our members are in the hospital due to the shock.”