Men of the Nigerian Customs, Kwara state command have been accused of carrying out unlawful arrest, detention and seizure of rice believed to be locally produced from a warehouse in Ilorin.
The accusation led to a protest by the chairman of Mount Olive Nigeria Ltd and his staff at the popular Oja Tuntun market on Thursday in Ilorin.
Speaking during the protest, chairman of Mount Olive Nigeria Ltd, Pharm. Ademola Adebola Julius, said in the last four years he has been supporting the cause of manufacturing local rice to grow the economy but unfortunately men of the Nigerian Customs have been threatening his business.
According to him, “Men of the Nigerian Customs Services came to my warehouse around 2am in the night, broke my door, tied my security man down and carted away my rice. 704 bags of Nigerian rice. I have over ten trailers of the rice inside my warehouse that are purely Nigerian rice.
“Ask any producer of rice in Nigeria, Mount Olive Nigeria Ltd, have been supporting them because I am the distributor of Nigerian rice in the whole South West and Nigerian Customs just came to frustrate me.
“I have 480 staff under me. I don’t know what they want from me. I pay my tax regularly. If they are saying I’m not doing my business in the orderly way, what is the orderly way they want me to follow?.”
Julius however said, “I have reported to the police. Customs men attacked my company unlawfully and that is why I’m protesting with all my staff for Nigeria government to come to my aid.
“They said I should come and see the AGC and when I got to their office they said he was not around. Three of my staff were locked up and they collected N50,000 from me before they were released. One of my friends who also came was locked up.”
While calling on the federal government to intervene, he demanded for the unconditional release of his 704 bags of rice.
“Nigerian Customs Service, Kwara state command should release all my rice unconditionally. Presidency should look into the matter. I have branches all over the country, my company is in 23 locations across the country they should come and investigate. We are ready to cooperate with whoever want to come and investigate us.”
“When I got to Olam farm in Nasarawa state in 2014, I was surprised with what I saw there and I resolved in my mind to support Nigerian rice because it will assist in tackling the issue of unemployment in the country. But here I am been frustrated by the men of Nigerian Customs. They should stop frustrating legitimate business owner like me,” he said.