By Odinta Christiana
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said its command in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara zone had intercepted 506 bags of foreign rice concealed in bags of beans smuggled into the country.
The command’s Controller, Mr Nasir Ahmad, made this known to newsmen on Wednesday in Sokoto, and said that the seized consignment had payable duty value of N12.5million.
Ahmad said that the items were intercepted on Friday officers of the command on patrol along Sokoto-Illela road.
He said that the command had competent intelligent officers, investigating specialised activities.
The controller explained that smugglers deployed different tactics in perpetrating their illegal businesses and reassured the public of the command’s readiness to confront smuggling and enforce government regulations.
He called on people residing in border communities to assist Customs authorities with useful information to combat smuggling of goods into the country.
“The present case is different as smugglers packaged two bags of rice in bigger beans bag disguising that they were conveying beans in the truck,” Ahmad said.
According to him, smugglers are using various structures, including residential buildings, to store smuggled items in peace-meal before uploading to a truck.
Ahmad said smuggling was crippling the nation’s economy as it deprived it of revenue, crippled industrial growth, endangered population and employment.
He commended Comptroller-General and officers of the Service for supporting anti-smuggling and revenue generation drive of the present administration.