The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says the ban on the importation of rice into the country is encouraging local production and establishment of more local rice mills, especially in the north.
The Acting Controller of the Katsina Command, Alhaji Dalha Wada-Chedi, disclosed this on Monday during a Customs’ Community Consultative Forum in Katsina.
He said closure of the borders by President Muhammad Buhari had in many ways assisted in boosting the general agricultural sector in the country.
Wada-Chedi added that, “Before the closure of the borders, there were few rice mills in the country, especially in the north, but in Kano alone, we now have over 200.
“No fewer than 200 rice processing industries came into existence in Kano State alone, following the closure of the borders. This is a great achievement.
“And this rice is being processed locally here at home; it is more hygienic and healthier than those imported from other countries.”
He explained that the consultative meeting was aimed at strengthening the relationship between the NSC and the public, especially the border communities.
“This initiative was to discuss issues concerning our relationship with the public to bridge the communication gap between us and the people of border communities.
“We have done such across the border communities and now we are holding the meeting at a state level. Katsina has the highest borders in Nigeria.
“Such a forum will pave the way for discussion on the frequent misunderstanding between us and the public, due to lack of knowledge on the role of customs by the people,” he said.
The controller called on the leaders of the border communities to avoid attacking their operatives to avoid unlikely confrontations.
In his response, Gov. Aminu Masari, represented by his Special Adviser, Security, Alhaji Ibrahim Katsina, commended the initiative by the service.
”The initiative will assist in resolving any problem between the customs and border communities, just as our border communities are obedient,” he added.
Masari further advised the NCS to also introduce community relations meetings as the easiest way of resolving their differences.
The governor said the state government was ready to give all the necessary support in the struggle to end smuggling activities in the state.
The Emir of Katsina, Alh. Abdulmuminu Kabir-Usman said,” If the traditional leaders are fully engaged, the differences between the NCS and the public would be over.”
Represented by the Sarkin Fulanin Hamcheta, retired DCG Lawal Idris, the emir also called on the service to convene such fora regularly, ” to remind the public the importance of the service.
“Lack of such initiatives in the past made the public to forget the roles of the NCS in the state, especially the people at the border communities.
“We have a lot of roles to play in assisting the customs in discharging its responsibilities to the people and the government,” the emir stated.