Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has promised to intervene in the rift between men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) and rice sellers in Sango/otta area of the state.
Amosun made the promise on Thursday when scores of the traders stormed the governor’s office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, to protest raiding of their markets by customs officials on Wednesday.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who monitored the protest, reports that the traders chanted solidarity songs and carried placards bearing inscriptions which disparage the NCS.
The governor, who spoke through Mr Bimbo Ashiru, his Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, called for restraint and suspension of all forms of protests while he mediates between the traders and the NCS.
Speaking after a closed-door meeting with the representatives of the traders, the commissioner promised that government would intervene.
He said that he had commenced the process of intervention since he heard of the incident on Wednesday.
Ashiru said: “I heard of what happened at Sango-Ota market.
“The government will intervene, in fact, we have started doing something about it.
“As part of our efforts, we have contacted the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service.
“As we speak now, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa is in Abuja concerning the matter.
“When adire sellers had this kind of problem, the government intervened and the problem was resolved.
“We will intervene in this one too, but I want to appeal to you to remain calm and suspend all manner of protest.”
NAN reports that on Wednesday, the rice sellers staged protest against raiding of their markets by customs officials.
They blocked both lanes of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway at Sango end.
The protest paralysed traffic and business activities in that axis for hours.
However, the NCS denied raiding their shops; they claimed that their operatives only raided a warehouse in the market where contraband goods were kept.