The imbroglio between the Oyo State government and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over the 1,800 bags of rice continued on Wednesday with the Oyo/Osun command closing its gate and refusing the state government access into its Ibadan premises to return the bags of rice.
Keeping to its word to return the rice deemed infested and unfit for consumption, the Oyo State government had loaded the bags in two trucks and driven to the Oyo/Osun command headquarters of the NCS only to meet closed gates manned by men of the service.
Speaking at the gate after being denied entry, Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Jacob Ojemuyiwa, said the state had earlier written a letter to the Customs Service to notify it of its intention to return the “infested” rice.
While expressing shock at the Customs barring the trucks from being driven in, Ojemuyiwa said the state executive council would determine the next steps to take on the matter.
For some hours, Tribune Online saw that the trucks of rice remained outside while the drivers and loaders said they awaited further directive from the state government’s officials on whether the trucks would be left at the Customs entrance, driven back to the state secretariat or taken to another place.
Speaking with Tribune Online, Public Relations Officer, Oyo/Osun command of the Customs Service, Abdullahi-Lagos Abiola, said the command was yet to get any directive from the Customs headquarters to receive the bags of rice.
He pointed out that the Customs service had not officially received the rice from the Oyo State government, adding that the state government left the trucks outside their gate at its own risk.
“There is no official letter asking us to receive the rice. When we gave out the rice, we had an official letter directing us from the headquarters.
“How do we receive alleged spoilt rice when we do not have such letter from the headquarters? We await directive from the headquarters whether to receive to not.
They have not handed over to us, so the rice is outside there at their own risk,” Abdullahi-Lagos said.