‘Smugglers’, criminal elements in Customs aid Rice import from land border’
Fresh facts emerged weekend on why the fake news saying that Customs authorities have removed Rice import from the 41 items on prohibition list.
In an exclusive chat with a top official of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos, the officer revealed that “the perpetrators of the dastard act were fronting for the destabilization of the economy. These are people who hate the economy and will do anything to destroy every good policy of the government”.
“You know that such thing happened under former CG, Mr. Dikko Inde and when he noticed that the policy is a conduit pipe for criminal elements in the service to bleed the economy with their accomplice smugglers; he banned Rice from coming in from land borders.
Continuing, the senior officer who pleaded anonymity added that “because the criminal elements in Customs who do their bad business along the Nigerian land borders are no more in business, they went and exhumed old story and circulated same online so as to cause a confusion, but the authorities are on top of the matter and the enemies of the economy cannot see the light of the day.
It would be recalled that weekend was full of counter information on the true state of the order banning Rice imports from land borders.
Whereas earlier news quoted the Comptroller General, Mr. Hameed Ali as having lifted the ban due the rising price of rice in Nigeria, the Service came out stoutly through the Public relations officer of NCS, Mr. Wale Adeniyi to make it clear once more that the ban on rice imports via the land border remain intact. This ended the controversy.
Adeniyi make the clarification in a statement sent to Business Hilights by Wale Adeniyi on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs read in parts: “Our attention has been drawn to publications on various online platforms indicating that the Nigeria Customs Service has reversed the ban on Rice importation through the land borders. These reports were attributed to a press interview purportedly granted by the Service Public Relations Officer, Deputy-Comptroller Wale Adeniyi.
“It has become necessary to re-state the true position in view of the confusion which these online publications may create in the industry. It is even more expedient to provide this clarification given that the fact that the Service has taken a firm position earlier in the week through a joint press conference with Stakeholders.
“First, we like to reiterate the position that importation of Rice remains banned through our Land Borders, and we have the commitment of Partner Government Agencies and Stakeholders to enforce this restriction. While this restriction is in force, Rice imports through the Ports are still allowed subject to payment of extant charges.
“It is equally important to restate the confidence of the Nigeria Customs Service in the ability of Nigerian Rice Producers to fill the existing sufficiency gaps in the supply of the product. The Service has noted with satisfaction the ongoing Rice Revolution undertaken by many State Governments, and Strategic Interventions by Federal Government Agencies. The Service is convinced that the bumper harvests expected from these efforts will address the supply gap in 2017. It is our belief that continuous waste of scarce forex on a commodity that can be produced locally makes no economic sense, most especially at a period of recession. The Service will therefore advocate a total Ban on Rice Importation into Nigeria with effect from 2017.
“It is worrisome that the publications that resurfaced this weekend were being attributed to a Press interview granted in October 2015. We strongly suspect that some powerful forces behind Rice Smuggling are at work, recycling an old report under a different circumstance to create confusion. We urge Nigerians to watch out for similar antics as the firm stand on Rice smuggling will pitch their selfish interest against our national interest,” the statement ended.