• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Customs’ warehouse in Kano overflows with seized smuggled rice

RICE
Despite the current tough stands of the operatives of the Kano/Jigawa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) against smuggling of contraband, prevailing situation indicates that smugglers are still persisting in their nefarious act.
At the moment, the warehouse of the command, situated in Bompai Industrial Area in Kano metropolis, is overflowing with various brands of foreign rice illegally smuggled into the country from the borderlines linking Jigawa State with Niger Republic.
Anthony Abutu, comptroller of Customs in charge of the command, confirmed this while briefing journalists at the weekend on the latest seizure of over 370 bags of 25kg of imported rice by operatives of his command.
According to Abutu, the warehouse of the command is in possession of over 6,000 bags of 25kg of foreign rice smuggled into the state, pointing out that this is separate from the over 4,000 bags donated recently to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East.
He described the trend in which people residing in the states under his command were hell bent in getting involved in smuggling activities despite the stick and carrot approach which his command had adopted as worrisome, and the put the street value of the 374 bags seized within the month at over N4.1 million.
“We want to assured the good people of the state that the Nigeria Customs Service Kano/Jigawa states in partnership with the Special Unit put in place by the Comptroller General of Customs will continue to step up patrolling along the borderlines to curb the menace of smuggling.
“You can see the 374 bags that we seized recently were repackaged in various bags of local rice brands with the view to deceive our men, but because of their proactive, and vigilance they were able to arrest them.
“I am using this forum to call on people involved in this nefarious activities to desist as my men are every ready to reduce the act of smuggling in the states under our operational zone to the barest level,” Abutu said.        
Meanwhile, BusinessDay observed that most of the seized rice was re-packaged under the banner of ‘BUA Rice’, as well as ‘Orika Rice’.      
It would be recalled that the Federal Government under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari effect the ban on importation of foreign rice along the Nigeria’s borderlines, but allowed the commodity be brought into the country through seaports.
The national demand for rice in Nigeria is put at over 5 million metric tons, while only 3 million can be met from local production, as a way of meeting local demand. Government has been trying to boost the domestic cultivation of the commodity through policy interventions, and stimulation of national rice farming programmes.