Senate gives Customs ultimatum to return seized rice in Ibadan market

The Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges has ordered the Nigeria Customs Service to return bags of rice seized from shops in the Oja Oba Market in Ibadan, within 15 days.

The Senate gave the ultimatum after Senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Kola Balogun petitioned the upper chamber on behalf of traders whose shops were raided.

Recall that officers of the NCS on Saturday invaded Oja Oba market and carted away eight truckloads of rice and money found in the shops of the affected traders.

This is barely one month after they raided the Bodija International Market forcing Senator Kola Balogun to petition the upper chamber.

The Senate Committee at its sitting on Tuesday described the act as unacceptable as Ahmad Lawan, the senate president referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

The panel then asked the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, represented by his Assitant Comptroller General, Garba Mohammmed, to ensure that the seized goods were returned to the affected traders within two weeks.

Also, they ordered that locked shops be unlocked while money taken from the shops must be equally returned.

They held that the action of the NCS officers breached the Customs Act and the Executive Order signed by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007.

The legislation empowers the agency to only impound smuggled goods, 40 kilometers radius to the border.

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