The Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, and the Ogun State Command Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service, Michael Agbara, have met to discuss measures aimed at finding a lasting solution to the incessant clashes between rice marketers and Customs operatives, especially in the Ota axis.
The meeting, our correspondent gathered, held at the Idiroko border office of the command last Thursday, where the monarch expressed concern at the frequent raids at Sango-Ota market in search of foreign rice by Customs operatives.
While the royal father urged the command to be proactive at the border posts, rather than coming into the city to create tension during raids, he equally said he would not support illegality of any form.
He advised Customs to come up with advocacy, aimed at educating the rice traders on the need to encourage and patronise locally-produced rice.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Seriki of Ota, Chief Olanrewaju Bashorun, also advised the command to explore other means of stopping the smugglers at the borders, instead of raiding markets to avoid loss of lives.
Responding, Agbara thanked the Olota and other stakeholders from Aworiland for their timely intervention, describing the visit as the beginning of the good relationship between the command and Ota residents.
The controller, however, warned that he would not allow individuals to turn Ota, especially Sango, into a smuggling hub in the state.
He said, “Most of the affected marketers are the warehouse owners, who are operating interstate smuggling and have chosen Ota as a transit point. Our efforts are aimed at achieving one of the core functions of Customs, which is trade facilitation and to passionately key into the Federal Government’s Executive order on the ban of imported rice,” he said.
He disclosed that an interactive town hall meeting would be organised between the command, traders and other stakeholders, to proffer a lasting solution to the issue.