John Adams, Minna
The Nigerian Custom Service, Niger/Kogi Command, has raised concerns over the involvement of cement company trucks in smuggling activities within the Command.
The Custom Area Command said that in the last three months no fewer than three trucks belonging to two cement companies have been intercepted carrying a total of 1,946 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg with a pay duty value of N32.9 million.
Speaking in Minna, Niger State, on Wednesday after intercepting and seizing a truck with registration number KRD 425 XM, marked T 425 LAFARGE, loaded with 720 Bags of foreign paroiled rice of 50kg, the Deputy Comptroller (Enforcement) Niger/Kogi Command, Mallam Jalo Musa Ibrahim described as worrisome the involvement of trucks belonging to high profile companies in smuggling activities, especially within the Command.
The Deputy Comptroller who stood in for the area Comptroller, Alhaji Abba Kasim Yusuf, put the pay duty value of the rice which was misconstrued to be cement, at N12,240,000.
He pointed out that the latest seizure is coming barely one week after a truck belonging to Dangote Cement company was intercepted along Minna-Lambata-Suleja road in the state with 700 bags of 50kg parboiled foreign rice with duty pay value of N11,900,000.
Mallam Jalo further disclosed that about three months ago, another Dangote truck conveying 520 bags of 50kg parboiled foreign rice neatly concealed in 50 sugar bags, and with a pay duty value of N8,840,000 was intercepted by the Command along Mokwa axis of the Command.
Mallam Jalo expressed concern over the attitude of these companies’ trucks which, he said, rather than concentrating on their primary assignments are now abetting smuggling of rice into the country, adding that the Command is not loosing sleep over this development.
According to him, “we are more determined than ever to make the Command uncomfortable for the economic saboteurs.
“The Command will henceforth beam it search lights on trucks plying the terrains of the Command. We are keen on implementing the federal government policy of encouraging home-grown rice farmers.”
This, he maintained “will not only create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths but will improve the Nation’s economy.”
He warned that with the Eid el-Kabir Sallah celebration around the corner, those who want to take advantage of the period to bring smuggled rice and other prohibited goods should have a rethink as there will be no hiding place for them.
“The Command will continue to frustrate smuggling activities through its territory and other unapproved routes in the country,” he submitted.