Rice traders at Bodija market in Ibadan, Oyo State on Sunday morning disclosed that trucks of rice raided overnight by the Nigeria Customs Service at the market on Thursday were supplied from Kano state.
The traders denied the allegations by the Customs that the rice was smuggled into the country.SaharaReporters had on Thursday reported that Customs officers broke into some selected rice stores in the market and took away their goods, including cash.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored by SaharaReporters in Ibadan on Sunday, the representatives of the rice traders in the market, Alhaja Mosope and Alhaji Saheed Adeoye explained that many of the products were supplied by Hausa traders from the northern Nigeria.
The Chairperson of the Rice Traders Association in the market, Alhaja Mosope said the sum of N3.5 million was kept in her shop, but said the shop had since been sealed by Customs officers, so she had not been able to confirm if the money was taken away or not.
According to her, some of her colleagues who have access to their shops have confirmed that aside from thousands bags of rice taken from their shops, the customs officers also stole millions of naira from their shops.
She said; “Some of our apprentices who are sleeping in the market called me around 12:45 am on Thursday to say that Customs officers came to Bodija market with almost seven trucks. They told me on the phone that they tied our security guard to have a smooth operation.
“Though strange to me, I know that there is a lot of lawlessness in every aspect of our dealings in Nigeria. I started praying for them not to kill anyone because life is sacred. I couldn’t go out because of my husband. When I got to my shop around 5 am, they told me they had left since 4:15 am.
“We protested at the office of the governor, but it was the Special Adviser to the governor on security, Fatai Owoseni who attended to us. It is injustice because such barbaric acts are not happening in the North.”
On his part, Alhaji Saheed Adeoye appealed to the government to consider the plight of the rice traders, saying many of them obtained loans to start their businesses.