Focus on lawmaking; don’t teach us our jobs – Customs replies Senate over rice market invasion

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has told the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges to focus on its job which is making laws and leave the interpretation of laws to the Courts. It advised them not to usurp the powers of other arms of government by interpreting the laws of the land.

Recall that CRIMECHANNELS earlier reported that the Senate on Wednesday, directed the Nigeria Customs Service to return the bags of rice it seized from some shops in Bodija and Oja-Oba Markets in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Reacting to the order, NCS’s Deputy National Public Relations Officer, Timi Bomodi, asked the Senators to focus on lawmaking and not the interpretation of laws.

Timi said, “section 147 of the CEMA act is clear on this issue. I think the Senators are doing their jobs. The Senators make laws but they should leave the interpretation of laws to the courts. It is the job of the courts to interpret laws.”

“The Senators cannot make laws and at the same time interpret laws. If they are doing that, then they are usurping the authority of another arm of government. We operate a democracy and there are three arms of government in it. The Senators should not usurp the powers of another constituted authority.”

Meanwhile, the Public Relation Officer of the NCS, Joseph Attah, in an interview conducted by Tribune said that Customs Officers can raid a particular place based on credible information.

He said, “Is it today that Customs have been raiding markets? Why is there so much noise about the Ibadan raid? When Customs raided markets in Mubi in Adamawa State and another notorious market in Kano, why wasn’t there any outrage?”

“Section 147 of the CEMA law gives the Customs powers to do this. Again, comparing what happened in Ibadan to what happened in Katsina State is totally wrong. These are two different scenarios. What happened in Ibadan can only be compared to a raid that happened in Ilorin where a lady came forward to say her rice was locally made. After a careful examination and the discovery that the rice was not foreign rice, her bags were returned to her.”

“If the traders in Ibadan say theirs are not bags of foreign rice, let them come forward with proof. If their claims are genuine, their bags of rice will be returned to them.”

When told by the interviewer that the Senate had said they forcefully collected money from the rice Traders, Attah said that only one of the bags contained some money.

He said that the sum of 522,350 was seen in one bag. He said that the money is safe and still intact.

“Whoever claims to be the owner should come and collect it with proof of ownership, ” Attah added.

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