Rice Smuggling: Customs Alarmed By Smugglers New Trick

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has uncovered new methods of smuggling rice at the commercial border town of Mubi in Adamawa.

The Adamawa/Taraba Area Comptroller of the Service, Mr. Adetoye Francis, disclosed this while recently inspecting a tipper lorry truck and two tricycles loaded with suspected smuggled rice in Mubi town.

According to the Customs boss, the command had identified new ways smugglers adopted to conduct their nefarious activities such as using tipper lorries carrying sand with bags of rice beneath the sand in an attempt to deceive custom officials.

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“They (smugglers) are using the cover of on-going construction work going on in Mubi by using tippers meant for conveying sand for smuggling by covering the items with sand.

“The lorry you are seeing here was arrested along the Mubi-Sahuda border road with 52 bags of rice covered with sand,” Francis said.

The Area Comptroller warned smugglers that the Service under the present administration has zero tolerance for any act of economic sabotage.

He further commended the officers and men of the Mubi office of the command for their commitment to check smuggling at the border town and assured them of support at all time.

While also addressing some members of Mubi business community, Francis cautioned them on the economic dangers of smuggling and the consequences if caught.

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Narrating the successes recorded by the unit in checking the activities of smugglers around the border town, the Officer-in-Charge of Mubi Unit, Mr Aliyu Bunza, lauded the support and cooperation the command is receiving from other security operatives in the area.

Also speaking, some representatives of Mubi business community, Alhaji Sanusi Hassan, and Malam Sali Manaja, declared support of their members to customs’ effort to check smuggling. They promised to continue to educate their members against smuggling.

The NCS had recently said it was prepared to frustrate efforts of smugglers who would resort to using creeks because of heavy security on land borders.

According to Mr Sarkin Kebbi, the Area Controller in charge of the Western Marine Command, Lagos, the NCS realized that desperate smugglers would divert to the creeks and would checkmate their activities.

He said that customs officers and men in the command had been mobilized to counter antics of smugglers on the waters.

“We are aware of the season we are in now, and with the tight security on the land borders, it is expected that smugglers will want to make use of the creeks.

“It will surprise them to know that the creeks are also covered with proactive officers and men who know the terrain more than them.

“We are working with information gathering from the communities unlike before when officers worked without community inputs,’’ Kebbi said.

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He disclosed that the Beach Combing Unit of the command was on 24-hour surveillance of the creeks with a view to foiling operations of any syndicate. Kebbi also said that the command would soon take delivery of two gunboats to facilitate operations.