Smugglers frustrating our efforts, local rice producers cry out


Rice millers under the auspices of Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, RIMAN, Saturday, expressed fear and raised the alarm over massive smuggling of foreign rice into the country.

In a statement by the National President of RIMAN, Peter Dama, activities of smugglers of rice has become a major threat to local rice farmers as millions of tonnes of smuggled rice are being offloaded at various entry points into the country on a daily basis.

The statement also identified markets smugglers transport the commodity to including Kano, Abuja, Kaduna, Jos, Lagos and others, while the boarders frequently used for the smuggling activities are Babura, Kongolon, Ibadan, Seme, Owede, Benin and so many other illegal routes into the country.

The statement reads in part, “While we praise the Nigerian Government for its efforts to ensure the growth in the Nigerian Rice sector, we are deeply concerned about the heavy rises in the smuggling of foreign rice into our markets all over the country through the and borders.

The association also called on the government to urgently stem the tide of the illicit business by changing the security architecture at the borders for effective policing and curbing of the worrisome situation that endangers the economy deep in recession and the health of Nigerians who consume such ‘poison’.

“Any customs personnel or security agent found to be compromising his position through bribery and corruption to allow smuggled Rice into the country, should be arrested and prosecuted and if found guilty, be dismissed from service.

“We also appeal to the government to set in motion, urgently committees made of various security agencies to raid Nigerian markets and confiscate any smuggled rice found and marketers caught with the smuggled rice products be termed economic saboteurs and be prosecuted.

“We also appeal to Nigerian Government to fund our Agricultural Research Institutes, so that they can come out with high breed seeds for our Rice Farmers that can be competitive like the foreign ones used as imports.

“We also advise that the Federal Government as a matter of urgency should subsidize Rice Millers, processors and farmers, in the entire Rice value chain in order for us to be competitive. For example, the European and Asian Government do subsidize their Rice farmers and millers, particularly those being exported or smuggled into our country.

“Finally, the Nigerian Government should take note of the fact that some of the smuggled rice into the country is not fit for human consumption. They are only good as animal feeds but being smuggled into our country.