The Customs Area Controller of the Ogun State command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Compt. Michael Agbara said it was impossible to stop smuggled foreign rice from local markets across the country.
Speaking recently during a press briefing the Controller said the refusal of smugglers to give up on smuggling made it impossible for non availability of smuggled rice in the country.
According to him, saying rice won't be found in local market is utopian, but the command has reduced it to barest minimum.
In his words, "Smuggling is as old as the whole world and there is no part of the world even with technology that they can stop smuggling. What to do is to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum and even though we are doing what we are doing, seizing what we are seizing, the smugglers don’t give up."
Agbara added that the level of smuggling in the state has reduced due to the intensive anti smuggling drive of the command.
"Smugglers are incurable optimist, they believe they can still make it, though they will continue to strive but anywhere they go, we are waiting for them. You cannot say at anytime there will be zero rice in the market you won't see that because that's utopian but what you will see is that it will be going down gradually.
“The level of smuggling has reduced especially, when coming you will notice it unlike previously when you use to see them everywhere on the road but now, you can hardly see them but, the best they can do now is to take the bush part but we are there for them."
Recall that reports have shown that over 80 per cent of rice consumed in Nigerian cities especially Lagos is smuggled either from Seme axis or Idiroko in Ogun State.
The rice smugglers ferry rice in through the creeks dotting Lagos and Ogun State ocean water bodies and unmanned illegal routes.
Dealers now smuggle rice through the use of Motorcycle operators (Okada) from the creeks or illegal routes to the markets.