The Kano/Jigawa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has smashed a smuggling ring across its coverage areas have reduced drastically since the closure of land borders in the country.
Isa Danbaba, the command’s Public Relations Officer, who disclosed this in Kano, said the success was achieved due to the serious measures put in place by the NCS to reduce the smuggling of contraband products, especially rice and other food items.
“In spite of the drastic reduction of smugglers activities in this zone, up till now we have not achieved our target of reducing it to the lowest level as you know, I cannot say to zero level because it cannot be possible,” he said.
He said lack of cooperation from the residents of those border areas by not providing all necessary information on the activities of the smugglers was one of the biggest challenges hampering the operations of the area command.
“Therefore, we are calling on them to give us more support by providing all the necessary information on the smugglers.
“We are doing everything possible to enlighten the public on the danger of smuggling the contraband products into the country,” he said.
Danbaba said that from Oct. 14 to Oct. 20, the command had intercepted 113 50 kgs of smuggled rice with over N2.9 million Duty Paid Value (DPV) in addition to seizing one vehicle as a means of transportation.
“From Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, we intercepted 223 compressed blocks and one small sack of cannabis sativa (Indian hemp).
“We also seized 34 bags of foreign rice of 50 kg and nine bales of second hand clothing. All the seizures within this period have DPV of over N4.6 million,“ he added.
Alhaji Auwalu Yusuf, the Chairman of Dawanau International Grains Market Traders Association said the closure of the land borders would boost food production and help to improve the country’s economy.
He said that the measure taken by the Federal Government would encourage many farmers to be more productive, encourage many people to go into farming business and improve the nation’s economy.
“Nigerian farmers can feed the country and some neighbouring countries if given the needed support by the government.’’
He said that in spite of the closure of land borders, there was no significant increase in the prices of food items in the market as being speculated.
He said that four years back, a bag of maize was sold for N20, 000 and now a bag costs N9, 000.
Yusuf added that some of the food stuffs only recorded price increase of between N500 and N1, 000, which according to him is normal.
The chairman said that President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for the country going by his actions, adding that the president would not introduce any policy deliberately to hurt the masses in the country.
“We cannot say that traders are doing well, but the truth is that we have started enjoying the impact and we are going to witness more by the grace of God,” he said.
According to him, the policy or measure had also encouraged Nigerians to patronise our local products and seriously helped in employment generation.