Ogun traders protest against seizure, auction of goods by customs
Tomatoes and pepper sellers in Ogun State have kicked against the seizure of their alleged N4 million worth of goods by men of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The protesters staged the protest at the secretariat of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta to register their grievances.
According to them, the customs on Sunday, impounded eight vehicles of 2,000 full baskets of tomatoes and peppers they were conveying to the market at Ijoun in Yewa North Local government areas of the state. The incident occurred 60km from the border between Benin Republic and Nigeria.
The protesters, under the aegis of Fruits and Vegetable Growers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, alleged that by the time they got to the customs office in Abeokuta, their goods were already being auctioned for N200 per basket instead of the original price of N2,000.
The chairman of the association, Eweoba Timothy, who spoke on behalf of the group, lamented that the seizure would leave the traders indebted as the majority of them are funding their businesses with loans.
Eweoba appealed to the Federal Government to intervene, saying, “We are not smugglers. These goods are not smuggled rice. They are tomatoes and peppers planted here in Ogun State.”
When contacted for its reaction, the spokesman of customs service in the command, Abdullahi Maiwada, said he was not in the position to make a comment but directed The Guardian to the National Spokesman of the Customs, John Attah.
Attah, however, said: “The tomatoes were impounded at the borderline. And if it is true as they claimed that they were locally produced, they should go there and prove it.”