Laleye Dipo in Minna
Barely two weeks after 589 bags of smuggled rice were impounded, the Niger State Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has again seized 700 bags of the same commodity from smugglers.
The consignment with a duty paid value of N11.9million was impounded by the anti-smuggling team of the NCS Command on Minna Lambata Suleja road last Monday.
Also seized was a utility truck with registration number XA297NAK belonging to a major company in the country, while the driver of the vehicle abandoned it and ran away.
A statement made available to journalists in Minna yesterday which was signed by the Customs Area Comptroller for Niger and Kogi States, Alhaji Abba Kassim, explained that it had become worrisome that despite the arrests of smugglers, Nigerians were still involved in the ‘illegal business’.
The statement said: “It is worrisome that some Nigerians remain unrepentant even as they continue to lose their goods, and not even the federal government visible efforts in transforming the agriculture sector, especially in the area of rice production, has touched their conscience to avoid smuggling of rice.”
The Area Controller maintained that his officers and men “are totally committed to reducing smuggling in the area,” adding that “the renewed strategy and proactive measures put in place in discovering new tactics of smugglers are yielding positive results
“The NSC Command is set to key into federal government policy and the ‘Next Level’ agenda to encourage home-grown rice which will go a long way in creating employment opportunities for our teaming youth.”
Abba Kassim therefore appealed to the public to always “embrace legitimate means of livelihood and avoid smuggling in all its ramifications.
“The eagle eye is all around Niger/Kogi State Command to uncover and suppress smuggling to the barest minimum in the interest of the economic prosperity and national development,” he said.