Some angry Rice traders at the Bodija market in Ibadan on Thursday, 1st of April, 2021 protested against the alleged night raid on their shops at the Arisekola Shopping Complex, Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State Capital by the officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Report has it that a patrol team of the Nigeria Customs sacked the rice section of the market on Wednesday and went away with bags of rice, vegetable oil and soya beans.
The traders, who took to the street on Thursday morning described the action of the Customs officers as common act of robbery considering the time and manner of their operation.
They reportedly stormed the Customs House, Oyo/Osun Command, at Ikolaba area in Ibadan.
One of the traders, who identified himself as Alhaji AA. Waris, said, “This is becoming unbearable for us. It is disheartening that what we are experiencing here is not happening in the North. Why would Customs men break into our stores in our absence and cart away our goods?
“Where were the Customs officers when we bought the rice in? Most of the stocks are local but we re-bagged them to look like imported rice because people prefer foreign rice. We implore President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the Customs men before they turn Bodija market to a battlefield.”
A trader, who gave her name simply as Hajia Kudirat, expressed disappointment on the action of the Customs officers saying that there was no justification for their action. She noted that “The #EndSARS protest in the country in 2020 broke out as a result of the excessiveness and overzealous attitude by the law enforcement agencies.
“I hope that like the Special Antirobbery Squad, officials of the Nigeria Customs would not invite another protest in the nature of the #EndSARS protest, ” he said.
Adenike Adeniyi, a trader who alleged that her shop was sacked by Customs men, said she lost several bags of rice in her store, appealed to governments at all levels to intervene in the matter.
The aggrieved traders were said to have taken their protest to governor’s office at the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan for state government’s intervention.
The Babaloja of Bodija Market, Mr Ismaila Jimoh, said Customs men stormed the market after the traders had left. He stated, “When they came, they broke into the shops and carted away bags of rice, vegetable oil and Soya beans. Some traders said the money they kept inside some bags of rice was taken by the men”
“When our people went their office to protest, the Customs men said it was from the headquarters. They even fired gunshots.”
However, the Public Relations Officer, NSC, Oyo/Osun Command, Mr. Olukayode Wet, said the raid of the market was not carried out by men of the Command, saying, “it must have come from the headquarters. The market men and women protested to our office but everything has been settled.”
It was learnt that the traders later went to the Governor’s Office, Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan to express their grievance.