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Foreign rice smuggled out of Lagos seaports lands in warehouse

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Abiola Seun

Despite the Federal Government ban on importation of foreign parboiled rice through the seaports, containers of rice were imported through the Lagos seaports and are landing at a warehouse without paying necessary duties at the Lagos seaports.

Speaking, the coordinator, Comptroller-General Strike Force Unit, Zone A, Mohammed Yusuf, said the rice was intercepted from a bonded warehouse after it left the Lagos seaports.

According to him, “when I came in, I said I have zero tolerance for sharp practices based on intelligence and hardwork of my officers, we swung into action and this yellow bagged foreign rice, most of them were brought in by unscrupulous importers who operates in some bonded warehouses without payment of duty.

” This rice were Intercepted based on intelligence .
We went to the warehouse and brought the containers.
“Duties are not supposed to be paid and the containers will just find their way and the warehouse was sealed.

“Terminal Operator noticed that he’s expecting a container and later discovered that the containers have been diverted, they gave us this intelligence and we discovered that we have this and we sealed the place off.”

“The importer expected that the container was coming into his bonded terminal.

“We got the warehouse and right inside, we saw rice stacked so, it was evacuated and it has been sealed as we speak,” he said.

He said government was promoting self sufficiency in rice and have thus invested in local farmers through Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme (ABS), hence the country’s producers must be supported.

“These rice were intercepted from a warehouse and we know government is doing it’s best to ensure production is sustained but because of the insatiable demands for foreign goods, Nigerians are not yielding and they have to import this.

“Government has given lot of money to farmers to improve and of course, it takes sometime but if Nigerians are patient, the rice gap will be filled and even the quality will be improved.

“We will recall that when the rice thing started, it wasn’t as polished as it is now but as the administration goes on, the quality improves and even the packaging.

” What we need is a little bit of time to get it right but people won’t stop smuggling, but as more as they do, we are there to get them.”

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