Rice sellers in Sango-Ota market in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State yesterday, alleged that men of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, broke into their shops and carted away 18,000 bags of rice in the wee hours of the day.
Vanguard reports that, the traders said the men of the NCS damaged the padlocks and doors of over 60 shops located inside Sango- Ota motor park, and carted away 18,000 bags of rice and jerry cans of vegetable oil.
News source had it that, the Customs operatives were said to have invaded the market around 1.00 am with about 15 trucks to cart away the bags of rice and jerry cans of vegetable oil.
Although, the NCS dismissed the figures bandied by the Traders.
According to Vanguard,Both the Public Relations Officers, Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command Usman Abubakar and Federal Operating Unit, FOU, Ikeja, Lagos, Jerome Attah, who spoke with Vanguard on phone denied the allegation of seizure of 18,000 bags of rice, stating that the operatives only took away 1,870 bags of rice.
They also said their operatives did not break into anyone’s shop in the market but only went into a warehouse where those contraband goods were kept.
The incident led to a protest by some angry youths and rice sellers who barricaded both sides of the Lagos- Abeokuta Express way
Motorists were not allowed to move into or outside Sango-Ota, from Lagos-end, Abeokuta- end, and Iju-Winners-Oju Ore end.
Efforts by policemen from the Sango-Ota Division of the state police command to disperse the protesters were futile.
An eyewitness at the scene yesterday said that the operation lasted for about one hour, adding that the Customs operatives were joined by men of OP Mesa, a military security outfit.
Meanwhile, as at 3.30pm when this story was filed, the protesting market women were yet to vacate the highway. They said they were waiting for the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to address them.