By Muhammad Goronyo, Sokoto
Nigeria Customs Service, Sokoto Command comprising Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states, during the weekend intercepted a loaded truck with 460 bags of foreign rice with a duty paid value of N7.8 million.
Speaking with journalists in Sokoto, the Customs Area Controller, Mr. Nasir Ahmed, said the goods were intercepted in Sokoto on its way to Suleija in Niger State.
He noted with dismay that the 460 bags of rice were hidden in a tanker meant for black oil.
He further disclosed that consumption of such rice posed serious health problems.
“As you are aware, this is an oil tanker belonging to one of the major oil distributors that is used in carrying black oil. This is another means smugglers devise in order to evade Customs officials.
“This poses serious health risk and hazard to those who consumed the rice because it has been contaminated. Thus, toxins will get into the body system if consumed and eaten, this rice will land the person in hospital.
“The plan of the smugglers is to re-bag the rice and sell it to innocent Nigerians as soon as they reach their destination in Niger state. We will not allow such unscrupulous persons to put the lives of the citizens at risk,” he said.
The Command according to him, had already arrested one person in connection with the contraband. He advised smugglers to go back to the farm and engage in rice production rather than indulge in activities that would sabotage the nation’s economy.
“The Federal Government is supporting farmers in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states to boost rice production and other produce. So, I see no reason some unscrupulous presons will continue to sabotage government’s efforts.
“We must support the federal government to ensure food security in the country,” he added.