New Customs boss reaffirms ban on rice, vehicles


Ban on importation of vehicles will increase smuggling - Don

Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Monday Abueh has reiterated the Federal Government’s ban on the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders.

Speaking during his maiden tour to Seme and Idiroko border commands yesterday, Abueh reminded the officers that there is no going back on the policy.

According to him, there is not going to be any change of mind from the government on the policy.

The Customs boss advised the officers to adhere strictly to the Federal Government policy in their own interest.

He told the officers at Seme that no single grain of rice should be allowed into the country through the border warning that any officer who fails to enforce the directive will be made to face the full weight of the law.

“The purpose of my visit is to convey the position of the Service on the policy of government and emphasis based on the Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) that the present language and action of the Service right now is to ensure that rice and vehicle are not imported through the land border.

“These are two key items on the menu and it is very hot. When we mean rice should not come in through the land border, we are not talking about small or big rice. Any grain of rice should not come in through the land border. That is the emphasis,” he said.

He said while the commands could no longer generate revenue from rice and vehicles through the borders, officers should ensure collection of duties on other general cargoes.

While recalling the massive seizure of 661 pump action rifles by operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ in Lagos on Monday, Abueh advised the officers to always ensure due diligence before allowing any consignment exit Customs control.

“If you are doing your work and you are careless about enforcing the present policy and you run into trouble, nobody will save you. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into taking action or signing something you did not see. Make sure that anything you sign is what you see,” he said.

He assured that officers who are diligent in their duty post will be rewarded.

At the Idiroko border station, Abueh took journalists round some new vehicles which were recently impounded by the command at Alarina border. He lamented that despite the ban, smugglers are still daring to bring in vehicles through the land border.

He however assured that officers are up to the task of enforcing the ban if smugglers are still adamant.

“These cars were arrested two nights again (Sunday). We are full of life and nothing will come in as far as government policy is concerned. We expect that they should stop and that will be good for everybody but if they are still attempting to bring them in, we will continue to arrest them,” he said.

Abueh also emphasized the need for collaboration among security agencies at the borders, saying it is necessary to combat insecurity and other forms crime in the country.

In his remarks, Controller, Ogun command, Comptroller Hassan Gandua disclosed that no fewer than 1,000 motor cycles used in smuggling rice through the border have been seized by the command.

He assured that the command will continue to do its best in combating smuggling of rice and other prohibited goods.