April 19, 2019

Rice processors to FG: Stop smugglers before they kill our businesses

smuggled rice, Navy

Bags of Rice

As Customs, EFCC plan joint action against smugglers

Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Rice Processors in Nigeria have cried out to the Federal Government to take more urgent and drastic actions to stop pecuniary-conscious smugglers from importing expired and unhealthy rice into Nigeria all in a bid to make a quick profit.

•Ikot Esen Rice nursery in Akwa Ibom State

•Ikot Esen Rice nursery in Akwa Ibom State

The rice processors under the aegis of Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, RIPAN, made the call at a crucial closed-door parley with the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, in Abuja.

Vice Chairman of RIPAN, Pual Eluhaiwe, who led a five-man delegation to brainstorm with EFCC top officials on how to curb the menace of rice smugglers, lamented that the evil men had by their unpatriotic activities forced them to shut down their local production plants or drastically cut production.

Eluhaiwe pointed out that their production had drastically slumped as a result of smuggling, forcing their members who used to produce and sell at least 10 trucks of rice daily to a paltry two trucks daily.

“In the current situation in which we have found ourselves, we have to cut down on our staff, close part of our operations and manage to keep afloat since the smugglers have continued to ship in expired and unhealthy rice into the country through land borders across the country.

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“We have come to EFCC to discuss with them on the dangers of rice smuggling into Nigeria via many routes in the federation. It has been happening and it is getting worse that we can no longer sell our rice since January this year.

“It has got to a point that all Nigerians must stand up to do something about the uncontrolled smuggling of rice into the country, a dangerous trend that is directly killing the local rice production plants and farmers.”

Vanguard learned, however, that the EFCC and the Nigeria Customs Service have drawn up a strategy to counter the rice smuggling syndicate, which had carried out its nefarious operations almost unchallenged in recent months across the country’s porous borders.

Also speaking, a member of RIPAN, Abba Dantata, lamented that the continuous smuggling of inferior rice into the country has rendered almost wasted the N200 billion, which the Federal Government has through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, invested in the rice industry in the last two years.