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Ilorin marketers protest seizure of goods by Customs

Some rice sellers in the Ilorin metropolis have staged a peaceful protest against alleged unlawful arrest, detention and seizure of their goods by men of the Nigerian Customs in Kwara State.

The protesters who claimed that their good was locally produced, trooped out in their number early along the Oja tuntun areas, thereby causing traffic gridlock around the market.

It took heavy presence of security operatives, said to have been mobilized from the state command headquarters of the Nigeria Police, Ilorin to bring the situation under control.

One of the rice sellers, Mr Ademola Adebola Julius told newsmen his business has been threatened persistently by men of the Nigerian Customs in the last four years, despite his support for the locally Nigeria grown rice.

He said he is one of the distributors of Nigerian rice in the whole South West with 480 staff, pay his tax regularly, but yet been threatened by the men of Nigerian customs service.

Mr Ademola while lamenting that three of his staff were locked up and had to pay N50,000 before they were released, called on the federal government to intervene, and demanded for the unconditional release of his 704 bags of rice.

A former member of the House of Representatives in the state, Mr. Akeem Ayedun condemned activities of the men of the Customs, saying that the men of the Nigerian Customs did not carry out their investigation to ascertain the type of rice Mount Olive has in his warehouse.

Reacting, Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Customs Services, Kwara state command, S.S Okpo, confirmed that some rice were seized, but investigation is still ongoing and members of the press would be addressed as soon as the investigation concluded.

Lawrence Afolabi.