The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has revealed that it seized a total of N3.02bn worth of smuggled rice between May 2022 and May 2023.
This according to data obtained from the service through its National Public Relations Officer, who is a Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada.
It indicated that a total of 206,835 bags of rice were seized within the period under review.
This came as rice farmers decried the incessant cases of smuggling of the commodity, as they urged the NCS and the Federal Government to step up the fight against smugglers.
Data from the NCS showed that a total of 1,745 seizures were made by service during the 13-month review period.
Economic Confidential learnt that the import duty on these seizures was N1.7bn, while the Duty-Paid Value was N4.74bn.
It was observed that the most seizures were done in June 2022, with about 266 seizures of 13,775 bags of smuggled rice worth N260.54m.
However, the highest number of seized bags was recorded in September 2022, with 118 seizures of 96,312 bags of rice worth N295.88m.
Also, the highest value of seizures was N420.84m recorded in February 2023, which comprised 172 seizures of 12,239 bags.
While reacting to the development, Maiwada said, “We have our data and there is no country in the world that has stopped the activities of smugglers or smuggling 100 per cent. We also know how vast and porous the border lines are, and we know the number of human resources we have, even though more are coming.
“Some are currently undergoing training and will be coming in the next few months. We also have facilities that are coming in. So we are doing everything possible to make sure that we curtail smuggling to the barest minimum.
“We are supporting what we are telling you now with data. This is the number we have seized, the quantity, value, duty and the duty-paid value as seen in the last column. We have the number of seizures of rice recorded in each month, the number of bags seized, which will be 50kg, we have the value and others, in the last one year.”