Rights group, Leadership and Accountability Initiative (LAI) has written to the controller general of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali demanding an explanation over the raid on people’s shops at Yaba area of Lagos State between Saturday December 28 and Sunday December 29, 2019 by officers of the service.
Yesterday, pictures and videos of the alleged raid of Popo Street Market, Yaba by what appeared to be a combined team of custom officers, the army and navy flooded social media space with many condemning the action.
During the raid, the officers were seen breaking down shops and carting away goods in trucks.
The raid was said to have happened in the absence of the shop owners, most of whom had travelled for the Christmas holiday.
Sources said the raid was prompted by a supposed tip off that a certain shop owner stored foreign rice in his warehouse.
“What a heck? The raid yesterday on Yaba second hand clothing market was wicked, barbaric, and condemnable,” a social media commentator who witnessed the raid wrote on Monday.
“It’s even worse that the owners of the shops the combined team of Customs, Army and the Navy raided and carted away their goods that yesterday are still in their different villages celebrating the Christmas with their families.
“Lagos State government had no hand in that, the Governor has no control over the Customs, Navy and the Army who perpetrated that condemnable act yesterday.”
In a letter dated December 30 and signed by its Head of Mission, Nwazuluahu Shield, LAI asked the customs boss to explain what prompted the raid to enable Nigerians understand the justification for the action.
“We are in receipt of videos and publications from Nigerians on the raid of shops in Yaba area of Lagos by your officers. The information and their accompanying commentaries detail the invasion of the market, breaking of shops and warehouses in the absence of their owners and eventually carting away of goods from the shops,” the petition read.
“Relying on section 1 (1), (2) and (3) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, and in order to have full understanding and information of what truly transpired, we write to request the official position of the Nigeria Customs Service on the allegation that it raided the Popo Street Market in Yaba area of Lagos between Saturday December 28th and Sunday December 29th 2019.”