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Tackle smugglers, reposition NCS; Rice Processors urge President-elect



The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), has appealed to the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, that upon his assuming office in May, he should prioritise a firmer border control to curtail rice smuggling into the country 

Addressing the media, in Abuja, on Friday, April 21st, the Director-General (D-G) of RIPAN, Mr. Andy Ekwelem, said that resurgence of rice smuggling into the country since the borders were opened in 2021 had increased.

He called on the president elect to reposition the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and re-organise Nigeria’s current border surveillance system to enable the NCS and other security agencies at the borders to be more effective in halting the smuggling of rice into the country.

He said: “Key areas that we will want the new government to take emergency actions on are to reposition the Nigeria Custom Services for effective manning of the borders.

“Smuggling of rice across the land borders is the main bane of the Nigeria rice sub-sector. The incoming administration must devise a strategy of dealing with smugglers and economic saboteurs if we want our food security programmes as well as the huge investments of both the government of Nigeria and the private sector in the rice sector to survive. 

“To this extent, Nigeria’s current border surveillance system should be re-organized to enable the customs and other agencies at the borders to carry out all weather surveillance. Modern security equipment such as Long-Range Surveillance Drones, video monitors and night vision scopes should be deployed to our border security if they are not currently being used.” 

Ekwelem explained that the nation’s rice sub-sector grew exponentially, between 2020 and 2021 when the federal government closed the nation’s borders with the Benin Republic.

He lamented, however, that with the opening of the borders in 2021, rice smugglers have increased their activities, which he said has had a very negative effect on the nation’s rice industry, in particular and the economy, in general.

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