Written by Ismaila JIMOH

Neigbhouring countries aiding rice smuggling - RIPAN

Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, RIPAN, an association of rice stakeholders have revealed how finished rice is been smuggled with the connivance of authorities of neighbouring African countries and some men of the Nigerian Customs Service manning border posts.  

This revelation was made by the chairman, RIPAN, Hon. Abubakar Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja.  

He disclosed that the information at the disposal of the association indicates ongoing massive smuggling of finished rice into the country, which he hinged on an attempt to frustrate the local production of rice.  

"Our investigation showed that these products are berthed and warehoused at Republic of Benin, Niger and Cameroun at a very little import duties and then pushed into the Nigerian markets where they eventually make unconscionable profit having paid zero duties at our borders with the support of some men of Nigerian Customs Service," he alleged.  

He went further; "we have it on good authority that the government of these countries provide the smugglers with necessary assistance such as warehousing facilities, local transporting logistics, etc, because of the import duties accruing to their treasuries."  

The association appealed to the Nigerian government on the need to engage the governments of neighbouring countries on modalities to fashion out joint anti- smuggling initiatives in tackling illicit smuggling of rice into the Nigerian borders, adding that imposition of strong economic sanctions against the affected countries for aiding and abetting rice smuggling might go a long way in reducing the ongoing economic sabotage.  

It called for collaboration between the Department of State Security and other relevant agencies as a way of tackling those out to sabotage government’s huge investments in various rice intervention programmes and undermine the zeal and efforts of over 25 million Nigerian farmers across the country.  

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