The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 501 bags of foreign parboiled rice re-bagged and disguised as locally produced rice in Ogun state.
Customs Area Controller of Idiroko border command of the service, Compt. Micheal Agbara said the foreign parboiled rice were sandwiched between 99 bags of locally produced rice.
In a press briefing in Idiroko yesterday, Agbara said the anticipation is a new strategy deployed by the smugglers to beat customs but the service will always be one step ahead of them.
He said, “During the period under review, unscrupulous mode of smuggling was uncovered by our patrol team when a truck loaded with 600 bags of rice out of which 501 bags were discovered to be foreign parboiled rice. Further investigation carried out revealed that the foreign rice was re-bagged in branded bags of a popular indigenous rice producer.”
The Customs Controller, who disclosed that the trucks were intercepted at Sagamu-Mowe expressway, said the act was an ingenious way of smuggling rice into the country from neighboring countries.
“The rice were intercepted between Mowe and Sagamu. And I can tell you that this is an ingenious way of smuggling, we know elephant rice is a local producer of rice but the smugglers used their bags and out of the 600 bags, 99 are local rice while 501 bags are foreign parboiled rice in that same bags but different patent,” he said.
Agbara stated that “some of the bags of rice have 75 and another has 45 patent so it is through diligent examination that we were able to discover this and we have written to elephant rice to come and identify which is their original bag but up till today, they have not responded.”
He also reiterated the need for border communities to see smuggling as an heinous crime against the country said that being self-sufficient in food production will help conserve foreign reserves and create jobs for teeming Nigerian youth. “The government has for their own wisdom ban importation of rice through the border yet our people don’t want to relent, they don’t want to be compliant but in our command, we are ever ready and we will continue to do our best, seize them. That is why we are seizing large quantity of rice and other items that are not properly imported.”
Speaking on sensitising the youths and communities against smuggling, Agbara said, “We have been holding meeting with the youths and community leaders to tell them that the anti-smuggling war we are fighting is their battle. If the government create jobs it will be for Nigerian youths if we feed ourselves, we will conserve our foreign reserves to the goods of our country and these items have health implications but we will continue to talk to them but it’s not what will be done overnight.”
However, the newly deployed area controller disclosed that the border command generated N2.6billion as revenue with total of 276 seizures. “Permit me to seize this Opportunity to inform you that within the last six months, a total revenue of N2.6billion was generated and Total of 276 seizures were made with the highest of 72 seizures recorded in the month of June, 2018.
“The Duty Paid Value (DPV) stood as N1.4 billion and items seized within the last six months include: 215 units of vehicles, 15, 976 bags of foreign rice (50 kg each), 1. 148 kegs of vegetable oil, 24 units of 16 compressed book Packs, 85 coconut packs and eight sacks of Indian hemp) among other items.”
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