Zone ‘A’ FOU intercepts over 3,000 bags of suspected smuggled rice at Agbara
• CAC raises alarm about `deadly rice
Despite the Federal Government’s ban on importation of rice through the land borders, smuggling of this commodity so favoured by Nigerians into the country through such unapproved routes may be unabating, as the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) last weekend intercepted eight trucks and over 3,000 50-kilogramme bags of suspected smuggled parboiled rice.
This is coming barely a week after the Unit foiled an attempt by suspected smugglers to move a consignment of imported contraband frozen poultry products concealed in a fuel tanker.
Briefing journalists on the latest rice seizure by the Unit, Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Isa Nuhu, disclosed that the seizure was effected in the creeks of Agbara, off Badagry Expressway.
According to Nuhu, the seizures recorded by the Unit were made possible through the efforts of the Customs High Command in providing personnel the needed logistics to effectively discharge their duties.
“This particular seizure was done in the creek area at night and it as a result of our officers penetrating into the bush and stumbled on an open warehouse where the rice had successfully come in and offloaded, just waiting evacuation to the various outlets, when we stumbled on it,” the Customs chief said.
He advised members of the public to be wary of low-priced items, especially rice and poultry products, as they could be stolen or smuggled products, noting that only legitimate rice retailers or wholesalers be patronised.
“Please, if you want to buy rice, don’t go and look for rice that has expired. The only way that you can use to identify such smuggled products is from the price. The smuggled ones are terribly cheap, like half the price of the cost of a genuine one. And please buy in an approved place. When some people want to buy rice, they will want to go to the creeks, because they know it’s cheaper. You know you are not buying something that is not legitimate. We will continue to educate the public that when buying something, don’t buy it simply because it is cheap. Because you could be signing your death warrant,” he warned.