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Image: Mynairanaija

Some rice farmers in Lagos state on Thursday demanded stiffer sanctions for those involved in re-bagging local rice into foreign branded bags to sell at high prices.

Concise News reports that the farmers in separate interviews with NAN noted that the practice amounted to economic sabotage inimical to the Federal Government’s stance on agribusiness.

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Tobi Onafuwokan, the Co-Owner of South-South Rice, said “re-bagging local rice into foreign brands bags will affect the demand and sales of local ones.’’

“With the provision of latest winnowing machine by local rice processors and mills, the Nigerian brand has greatly improved in quality such that it can compete with foreign ones.

“Effort should not be spared by both government and rice investors to arrest this anti-development practice before it become a tradition in the rice value chain,’’ he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Agrictrend Nigeria Ltd., Dunton Raheed described the act of re-bagging local rice into foreign bags as criminal and should be meted with stiffer penalty.

The Ogun-based farmer said: “Government should enforce penalty to deter people from such unhealthy profiteering that will not allow the local brand gain millage in the market.

“I have a brand known as Ofe that is trying to gain acceptance in the market; it will be counter-productive for somebody to buy from me and re-bag it into an already known brand bag in the market,’’ he said.

Mrs Katherine Amadi, a rice distributor in Lagos, alleged that the practice of re-bagging local rice into foreign rice bags had been going on even before the border closure.

Amadi said that government could check the practice by meting out appropriate sanction on those involved.

NCS seizes rice,vehicles with duty paid value of N145m in Niger

In related news, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Niger and Kogi Area command, has seized imported rice, vehicles and second-hand bale clothing with duty paid value of about  N145 million in the third quarter of 2019.
The Comptroller in charge of the command, Yusuf Abba- Kassim, announced this while displaying the seized items before newsmen in Minna on Thursday.
Abba-Kassim said a total of 3,529 kilogrammes of imported bags of rice with duty paid value of over N62 million were seized by officers and men in different parts of the area command .
According to him, 29 used vehicle’s with duty paid value of over N32 million were also seized under the command’s new anti-smuggling strategies which he said had been yielding positive results.
He said that 1, 018  bales of second hand clothing with duty paid value of over N48  million were seized within the command’s area of coverage.
The comptroller said the command had also arrested one DAF diesel tanker with registration number RBC 05 ZS suspected to be concealing 500 bags of foreign rice on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
He described smugglers as economic saboteurs and advised them to desist from such act.
He said the command was  committed to the eradication of all forms of smuggling activities within its area of jurisdiction.