Farm produce traders and farmers from Yewa-Awori under the aegis of Fruits and Vegetable Growers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, protested against the alleged seizure and auction of their goods by Customs officials on Monday.
The protesters alleged that officials of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun State Command, on Sunday confiscated 2,000 baskets of tomatoes planted and harvested in Ijoun, in the Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state.
The protesters, who marched to the secretariat of the Ogun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, on Monday called for governments’ intervention.
The protesters demonstrated with placards with inscriptions such as, ‘We are farmers and not smugglers,’ ‘We didn’t vote to be tortured,’ and ‘Customs wants to kill us.
The State Chairman of the association- Timothy Eweoba, said the Customs seized 2,000 baskets of pepper and tomatoes from their members and auctioned them.
Eweoba said, “They are now auctioning it at their head office. They said it was a Federal Government’s directive that the Customs should impound tomatoes and peppers planted in Nigeria.
“Our goods are not imported at all. They were planted here in Nigeria. Our produce was impounded in Ijoun.
“The goods were impounded yesterday (Sunday) and they are auctioning them now. We have been to the customs office where it was confirmed to us that our produce was being auctioned at N200 per basket.”
Attempts to get a reaction from the Public Relations Officer of the NCS in the state- Abdulahi Maiwada, failed as his phone ranged out. He also did not respond to the text message sent to him.