Expired rice is being smuggled into Nigeria. Comptroller Mamudu Haruna of the Nigerian Customs has issued a warning on expired rice.
As the festive season approaches, Nigerians are urged to be careful while buying rice.
Comptroller Mamudu Haruna, the customs controller, Federal operations unit, Ikeja, said on Tuesday, December 13 that most rice smuggled through Idiroko, Seme, Jibia and other border stations had expired.
Haruna, then urged the Nigerian public to be cautious when patronizing the smuggled rice sellers in the country saying that those eating such smuggled rice were causing damage to their bodies.
The comptroller went on to explain that some of the expired rice had been impounded by customs officers and kept in the warehouses.
He revealed also that smuggling of rice had become so lucrative that many youths were risking their lives by carrying five to six bags on a single motorcycle.
Explaining other techniques used, he said that other smugglers even transport between 35 to 50 bags in smaller trucks.
When asked about the rumors that plastic rice was in the country, he said:“For plastic rice, I am yet to come across plastic rice.”
In order to stop these smugglers the customs service has intensified operations at various terminals and warehouses to ensure compliance with the extant laws.
Speaking on the new measures, he said: “To this end, about six warehouses in Lagos that have contravened the laws are under customs seal and pending thorough investigation.”
According to Punch, he also showed a detained cement company’s vehicle, containing both cement and rice, which was used for smuggling rice.
He explained: “In the guise of false declaration, transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the federal government.
“Making a cumulative of N611.67m in the months of October and November 2016.”
So far, 210 different seizures were recorded comprising vegetable oil, foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, smuggled vehicles, Indian hemp and various general merchandise.
Also, 77 suspects were apprehended, 17 of which had already been charged to court for prosecution and four convicted but on Appeal at the Appeal Court, Lagos.
Meanwhile, it is quite good to hear reports that the demand for locally grown rice has increased among Nigerians especially in Cross River state as Christmas approaches.