The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) insists the ban on rice import over land borders remains in place, as it ramps up fight against smuggling.
Customs public relations officer, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, in an interview, said Customs is encouraged by the efforts of local rice farmers who have invested their resources to ensure need rice in the country.
NCS, he said will continue to ensure the restriction of rice import through the land borders to boost local production.
Attah said the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali said with increased production of rice from local producers in the near future, the Service would seek total ban on rice importation.
Importation of rice through the land borders was banned since April 2016 with an extension to the restriction of rice into the Nigerian market from the Export Processing Zones (EPZ).
In March, Customs said rice is only permitted to be imported at the sea ports.
The leadership of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Kebbi state last Tuesday raised concerns over fears of rice importation ban, saying it threatened nearly 24 million jobs.
RIFAN said about eight ships were on the sea trying to bring foreign rice into Nigeria. But Customs said any attempt to import rice through the land borders will be continually resisted. We have given our assurances to Nigerian Rice Producers (NRP) about this and we have deployed more officers and men to enforce the ban of rice import through the land borders,” Attah explained.