Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), Thursday revealed that the service has intercepted 25 containers of expired rice at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
Ali disclosed this in Abuja at the fourth National Assembly hearing on the proposed 2020 budget.
He told the federal legislators that the decision to close the country’s land boarders was not driven solely for increased revenue collection but has security consideration.
He stated: “I want to take this opportunity to tell this house that we have now 25 containers of rice we intercepted in Tin Can Island Port. Each of them contained 100 bags of rice that were clearly stamped with the expiration date of May 2018. I have said it here that 90 per cent of the smuggled rice has expired.
“In Thailand and India, when their rice expired, they would buy a portion of the sea to dump them. But our men will go there and pick them. Moreover, some Indians and Lebanese who care nothing about our health, about our wellbeing will come and re-bag then with new expiry date and this is what we consume.”
Ali also claimed that the border closure has contributed to the reduction in banditry and kidnapping in the far north, adding that the border closure has cut off the supply of arms to the bandits.
He further explained that revenue collected by the NCS has increased to N6 billion daily against N4.7 billion it used to collect before the borders were sealed up as those who used to patronize Cotonu ports are now being constrained to utilise Nigerian ports
He also stated that 80 per cent of the consignments at the ports were not properly documented and agreed that NCS has no scanners at the various ports but subject cargoes to 100 per cent inspection.