Less than three days of confusion rising from false information on lifting ban on the importation of rice via land borders, operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have stormed some markets in Lagos in search of smuggled rice.
As expected, their efforts led to the seizure of about six trailer load of rice from shops at the Iddo Railway Terminus.
The owner of a shop where the NCS men reportedly seized 5,000 bags of rice was said to have collapsed and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
The NCS spokesman, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said Customs by law is empowered to impound any product suspected to be smuggled wherever such product could be found.
He noted that “The rice was smuggled. We got information that the consignment was taken to a particular place and we went there.
“It is a message to smugglers that it is not just enough to bring goods across the border into the country; the goods can be seized even when they are in the country.”
Adeniyi advised Nigerians to desist from act of smuggling and go through the legitimate route to bring in their goods, maintaining its ban on the importation of rice through the land borders.
Statistics has shown that Nigeria consumes well over six million metric tonnes of rice annually. Whereas local production accounts for less than 40 per cent, the remaining is filled by importation and smuggling.
But there seems to be light at the end of November as the Minister of Agriculture said Monday in Abuja that the skyrocketing price of rice, now at about N20,000 is expected to drop by next month as new rice will be harvested by local investors.