The Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hamid Ali (rtd) on Thursday said three years jail-term awaits anybody arrested for smuggling a bag of rice into the country.
Concise News gathered that the NCS boss made this known while addressing border communities of Nigeria/Niger at Maigatari local government in Jigawa State on Thursday.
He said the act of smuggling of contrabands food items into the country is playing a key role in destroying the county’s economy and Nigeria must work hard to curtail the problems.
“Federal Government is making efforts to improve Agriculture especially rice farming but the foreign rice been imported to the country massively through illegal borders is sabotaging government policies.
“Most of these rice are being imported by you on a motorcycle through illegal borders,” Hamid Ali stated.
“No compromise, anybody found culpable will be prosecuted accordingly and the minimum punishment for smuggling a single bag of rice is three years jail term,” he stated.
He urged border communities to support government efforts in fighting illicit importation of contrabands food items into the country, which is inimical to citizen’s health by feeding security agencies with any useful information.
Hamid Ali also warned security operatives to be vigilant and cordial with members of borders communities.
Nigeria Customs Boss Speaks On Border Closure
Concise News recalls that NCS boss Ali said that Nigeria’s borders will remain closed until the country and its neighbours agree on the existing Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on movement.
It was reported that Ali stated this on Wednesday at Maigatari/Niger border, Maigatari Local Government Area of Jigawa while fielding questions from newsmen.
“But there is no specific time for opening the borders. However, if they agree with us tomorrow on the existing laws, then we sign and update the existing protocol of transit, that’s all.
“And we are looking forward to meeting with them and there are moves to sit with them to make them understand why we are doing what we are doing and what we want to achieve by doing what we are doing,” Ali said.
When asked about the consequences of closing the borders, he said: “if you check our website, you will see the seizures and interception we’ve made”.
He said that by closing the borders, Nigeria was able to completely block the importation of contraband.
“We are able to completely block the influxes of illicit goods, and most importantly, stopped the exportation of petroleum products which is the biggest problem we have,” Ali said.
According to him, through the measure, the importation of foreign rice has stopped and the market for local varieties has risen.
“We’ve also stopped the influx of rice and our rice is now selling.
“Even those selling garri that have been abandoned because there was cheap rice are making brisk business.
“This is because people are now buying garri as food. So, I think the economy is now picking up and we are grateful for that,” he said.