Wale Adeniyi, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Customs Service has revealed that the Comptroller-General of the body, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), has removed the ban on importation of rice. He also stated in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the import duty payment at land borders has been reintroduced. According to him, the restriction used to be applied only at land border stations, adding that all rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 per cent with 60 per cent levy. “Over the years importation has been restricted to the seaports because border authorities have found it difficult to effectively monitor and control importation of rice.
“When the decision to ban it (rice) was taken it was not an effective measure because smuggling of
the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance including small trucks, bicycles and even animals – putting them on donkeys and some actually carry it on their heads. “These new measures will be for customs to reognise their anti-smuggling operations in the border areas and ensure that all those importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty,” he was quoted to have said. Ali has also recently warned Nigerians to desist from patronizing rice smuggled through land borders. Speaking at a joint news conference on illegal rice importation to Nigeria on Tuesday, October 4, in Abuja Ali said 99 per cent of rice smuggled through the land borders is not fit for human consumption. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he said NAFDAC samples have showed that smuggled rice through the borders was unfit for human consumption.