The Idiroko border Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun state, has seized over 40,000 bags of rice from January to August 2016.
The rice were seized from smugglers who illegally ferried the product into the country.
Spokesman of the command, Mr Usman Abubakar who confirmed this to LEADERSHIP Sunday said that the command seized not less than 500 bags of rice every month.
“Every month, we seize not less than 500 bags of rice from smugglers.”
He disclosed that that the command has recorded more than N5billion as revenue between January and August 2016.
Abubakar confirmed that penultimate Tuesday, the command recorded another seizure of 500 bags of smuggled rice which was traced to an illegal warehouse at one of the creeks in the border.
According to him, several motorbikes used by smugglers to freight rice through bush paths have also been impounded by the command.
“Our men are on alert all the time, we mount checks for economic saboteurs, we are confiscating their illegally imported goods, some of them import legally and they pay duty, those that bring in goods through illegal routes, our men are in the bushes”
“On daily basis we have been doing this, their motorcycles that they use to ferry smuggled riceare usually seized, they are there for everyone to see if you want to ascertain what I am saying, the rice is always in government warehouse for safety.
Abubakar also said that the Idiroko Command has been engaging in a lot of sensitization and engagement with the stakeholders and indigenes at the border towns and educating them on the dangers inherent in smuggling.
He said, “it is honourable for them to come and pay duty rather than get involved in smuggling. Once you are arrested, your vehicle will be seized and you will be prosecuted in the court. We have been talking to stakeholders and it is yielding results”
Speaking further, he confirmed that duty on imported vehicle is cheaper at the borders when compared to what is obtainable at the seaports.
Explaining the rationale, he said, “Tariff is the same at seaport and borders, but at the port, there are port charges you pay which you don’t pay at the border, this could be the reason why vehicle clearance is a bit expensive at the port than the border station”.