A member House of Representatives, Jimoh Ojugbele, has condemned the dawn raid on the Sango – Ota rice market, Ogun State last Wednesday by the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operation Unit, Ikeja, Lagos and described it as unfortunate.
He flayed the action of the NCS operatives on Tuesday at Sango-Ota during a visit to the market to sympathise with the traders.
Ojugbele who is representing the Ado-Odo/Ota Federal Constituency of the state at the National Assembly noted that the operational jurisdiction of the NCS was to man the land borders and other international entry or exit points, and did not extend to the local markets where traders sold and kept their goods.
The lawmaker who also gave out funds to over 200 artisans whom he had sponsored through various skills acquisition programmes, urged the traders to remain calm and be law abiding, as he also promised that he would take steps towards the recovery of their seized goods.
He said, “The matter is a national issue and I promise you that I will bring it up on the floor of the House of Representatives for the attention of my colleagues.”
He said the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has also taken some measures about the traders’ plights, assuring them that an amicable solution would be found so that the seized bags of rice and kegs of vegetable oil were returned.
A week ago, the Operatives of the NCS, Federal Operation Unit, Ikeja, Lagos broke into the shops of rice sellers inside Sango-Ota Motor Park and in the process, they allegedly carted away 4,200 bags of rice and 478 kegs of vegetable oil, which they claimed were smuggled into the country.
The rice sellers led by their Coordinator, Alhaja Wakilat Salako, stormed the Ogun State governor’s office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta last Thursday, in continuation of their protests and the traders alleged that while the raid lasted, no fewer than 60 shops were broken into in the market while money totalling N6m were stolen from some of the shops.