From Gyang Bere, Jos
National Chairman Rice Miillers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) Peter Dama has raised the alarm over the smuggling of foreign rice into Nigeria following the reopening of Nigerian borders.
Dama, in a press statement, praised the Nigerian Government on its efforts to ensure the growth in the domestic rice sector but expressed serious concern on the smuggling of foreign rice into the country.
‘Millions of tons of smuggled rice is being off loaded at the following boarders daily basis without any interruption, or checks by the customs and security agencies for onward transportation Into Nigeria markets, e.g Kano, Abuja, Jos, Lagos and several cities in the country,’ he said.
‘The borders frequently used for the smuggling activities are Babura, Kongolon, Ibadan, Oyo State, Seme, Owede, Benin and so many other illegal routes into the country.’
Dama appealed to the Nigerian Government to properly equip and compensate adequately all customs officers manning the borders to enable them function effectively to reduce rice smuggling into the country.
He sympathised with officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service and other security personnel who have been murdered in cold blood by smugglers.
‘Any custom personnel or security agent found to be compromising his position through bribery and corruption to allow smuggled rice into the country should be arrested and prosecuted and if found guilty, be dismissed from service.
‘Any truck or means of transportation used to transport smuggled rice into Nigeria through the borders should be confiscated with the entire goods, while the culprits arrested and prosecuted and jailed if found guilty.
‘We appeal to the government to set in motion urgently committees made up of various security agencies to raid Nigerians markets and confiscate any smuggled rice found and marketers caught with smuggled rice products be termed economic saboteurs and be prosecuted.
‘Stores owned by these unpatriotic economic saboteurs also be sealed up completely, until after paying up fines or after serving prison terms before such stores are reopened.
‘These foreign rice sellers and distributors in the market are themselves economic saboteurs by accepting to market banned goods in the country, they should not be spared as they are contributing in the destruction of our common wealth and our attempt to be self sufficiency in national food security.’
He advised the Federal Government to subsidized rice millers, processors, and farmers in the entire rice value to make it more competitive.