The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has raised alarm over the importation of expired rice into the country through neighbouring countries.
Controller, Western Marine Command of NCS, Sarkin-Kebbi Mustapha, said unscrupulous importers usually buy the expired commodity at 10 percent pf the actual cost and smuggle it into Nigeria.
He said the products, at arrival at the ports of neighbouring countries, especially Cotonou, Benin Republic, are re-bagged and smuggled into the country.
He said, “If you know the amount of foreign exchange we spend in buying this rice, you will cry for the country, why should you spend money to bring something that is harmful to you and your people?
“Some of this imported rice you see is even expired. Their countries of origin sell it to them at cheap rate of 10 percent of its original price because it has expired and they only bring it to the neighbouring countries to re-bag it and change date then smuggle it into Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the command has intercepted 83,250 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) commonly known as petrol smuggled through the creeks and illegal routes within its area of operation.
Mustapha said the command seized 705 jerry cans of 20 litres of the product on 20th of January, 2018 along Yekeme creeks, following information that the smugglers were about to evacuate the product.
According to the Customs boss, “This is not the first time we have made such seizure. In May, we seized 66 kegs of 20 litres, valued at N191, 400 along Aseke creeks, in October we made another seizure of 1740 kegs of 20 litres valued at N640, 000 along Gbao and Yekeme creeks respectively and lastly in November, another seizure was made at Yekeme of about 950 kegs of 20 litres valued at N344,375,”
A statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Emmanuel Tangwa, quoted Mustapha as saying that these people normally go to filling station at midnight to fill the jerry cans, which they transport across the border to neighbouring countries.
The Customs boss explained that the seizure made by his command in January was significant because it was a time the nation was experiencing petroleum scarcity.
“It is so ungodly and callous for anybody to do this when we are in scarcity since the beginning of December,” he said.
Mustapha further disclosed that the command seized 195 bales of second hand cloths on January 4, 2018 from smugglers at Alaba jetty.
He said the clothes had duty paid value of over N20 million.
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