Customs Allege Plot To Massively Smuggle Rice Into Nigeria

Hameed Ali, Customs, RiceThe Nigeria Customs Service has raised alarm over a plot to illegally import 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), made the allegation during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that at least 117,000 bags of illegally imported rice have been seized by the Customs since January 2016.

Reps summon finance and agric ministers
Impounded bags of rice

The Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs Yetunde Oni, also corroborated the claims.

She said that the activities of smugglers were affecting Nigeria’s revenue generation, despite its economic recession.

Prior to the development, Customs authority in Ogun State Command decried the increase in the activities of smugglers.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at Idiroko border, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Economy In Recession

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented the upsurge in the cost of rice from 12,000 Naira to over 20,000 Naira in some parts of the country, a fall out of the economic recession.

Economic analysts have said that more persons could go into smuggling of rice due to the increase in price, with most of them opting for Benin Republic where they could get rice for as low as 12,000 Naira.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was a result of the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.gas-pipeline-vandalisation

Some militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, as the government agreed to dialogue with the militants after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

In spite of the development, both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers, alleging a breach of agreements as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.

 

Customs Bemoan Increase In Rice Smuggling Into Nigeria

Customs rice smugglingThe Nigeria Customs Service says there is alarming increase in the activities of rice smugglers, despite the ban on importation of the grain through land borders.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at idiroko border, the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs decried the increase in the activities.

The Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of  rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where  the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Mr Waindu further explained that the command’s patrol team also intercepted 410 motorcycles being used as means of conveyance with each having a carrying capacity of eight bags of rice per trip.

While warning smugglers to desist from the illegal business, Mr Waindu maintained that the law banning rice importation through the land border was still in force.

Nigeria, Benin Customs Meet On Implementation Of ECOWAS Trade Agreement

customsThe Nigeria Customs and its Benin Republic counterpart have met and agreed on the implementation of protocol by the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) on the transit of goods between the two countries, to reduce smuggling activities across borders.

Under this agreement, all secondhand vehicles popularly called “Tokunbo”, being imported into Nigeria through the neighbouring Benin Republic, would henceforth be handed over to Nigeria Customs officials at the borders for payment of the necessary import duty and proper documentation.

The meeting between the two sister states was held at the Idiroko border with the representatives of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs and the Director General of the Benin Customs and his entourage.

The meeting was mutual, cordial and fruitful as they seek to explore and abide strictly with the ECOWAS trade agreement, especially on the smuggling of used cars without duty payment into Nigeria from the Benin port.

While pledging logistics support by Nigeria to Benin Republic on the fight against banned goods into Nigeria, the Area Comptroller of the Ogun Customs Command, Haruna Mamudu, however bemoaned the proliferation of Rice and poultry products into the country. A situation he said is dangerous to the nation’s economy.

To demonstrate its commitment towards illegal importation of banned frozen poultry products into the country, over 18,000 cartons of frozen Turkey worth 90 million Naira seized from various border posts were destroyed by the command.