Traders at Bodija Market in Ibadan on Thursday protested against the invasion of the market by men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), insideoyo.com reports.
It was gathered that Customs officers in the early hours of Thursday stormed a shopping complex located within the market and carted away hundreds of bags of rice and food items.
The operation according to reports happened between 12am to 3am.
The protesters carrying placards blocked the UI – Secretariat Road (Kenneth Dike Road).
When contacted the Public Relations Officer of Oyo / Osun Command, Kayode Wey, said that the operation was carried out by Officers and Men from the Headquarters and not from his command.
Confirming the news, the Public Relations Officer of FOU Zone A, Mr. Theophilus Duniya in his reaction described the operation as a successful one.
He added that the operation was carried out in order to reduce casualties during confrontation with smugglers.
Duniya maintained that the NCS was empowered by the law to seize or intercept smuggled items anywhere in the country including warehouses or stores.
“I got a report now that men of the Oyo and Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in the early hours of this morning invaded a complex opposite Arisekola Shopping Complex at Bodija Market and allegedly carted away tons of bags of rice between 12am to 3am.
“I have confirmed from the office. It was a successful one. It was a successful operation.
“You know that there is ban on importation of foreign rice. This was done to empower local farmers.
“It was done to avoid casualties during confrontation with smugglers. That will serve as a deterrent to others. Such operation is backed by the law.
“NCS is empowered by law to seize smuggled items anywhere whether it is warehouse or shop.”