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Nigeria Customs Uncovers New Methods of Smuggling Rice



Nigeria Customs Uncovers New Methods of Smuggling Rice

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has alleged that despite the closure of the land borders, criminals still smuggle rice into the country with caskets and gas cylinders.

The agency stated that the ingenuity deployed by criminals or smugglers has made it possible for contraband items to come into the country. – Report From ThisDayLive

NCS’ Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Attah, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja Wednesday, explained that there were so many factors responsible for the entrance of smuggled items into the country in spite of efforts to stop them by the service.

He stated that most smugglers use unapproved routes to bring in contraband goods into the country while some deviously conceal the items to escape arrest by Customs operatives.

“People often ask where were Customs operatives when contraband goods entered the country without being stopped.

“We have seen a situation where rice is smuggled using gas cylinders or a situation where a spare tyre is used. The tyre is perforated and rice is loaded inside and when you open the booth you see what is supposed to be a tyre.

“If you do not have a tip-off, you are not likely to know that inside that spare tyre are 10 or 15 mudus (measures) of foreign rice.

“Another circumstance, smugglers use casket that is used to carry a corpse to either smuggle rice or petrol. They sometimes load petrol in jerrycans and put it inside a casket, wrapped in such a way that you think is carrying a dead body.

“A situation like this, if you don’t have intelligence, you wouldn’t know. For instance, without a tip-off, it is unlikely as a human being to accost a vehicle carrying the casket with a supposed dead body and request for such to be opened.

“If people with all these tricks succeed and escape, their smuggled items are what you find in shops, markets, and houses,” he explained.


He added that smugglers’ actions are meant to sabotage the economy and the security of the country and assured Nigerians that the Customs were determined and committed to checking that.

Attah stated that Customs had fortified its strategies and intelligence to check the smuggling.

Nigeria in August last year, closed its land borders to check smuggling, especially of rice and petroleum products.

But the closure did not go down well with Nigerian neighbours, Benin Republic, Chad and Niger.

The authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government had earlier this month constituted a committee, headed by President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso, to study and make a full report on the impact of Nigeria’s land border closure on its neighbours.

The decision to set up the committee was reached in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at an extraordinary session of ECOWAS leaders convened on the margins of the 33rd AU Summit to discuss the issue and other pressing regional matters.

The federal government closed Nigeria’s land borders in August 2019 mainly to check to smuggle of agricultural and petroleum products.
The government said the border closure had been positive for the economy as local production of food such as rice had increased while local consumption of petrol had reduced.

It has also vowed to continue the border closure until its neighbours, mainly Benin, Niger and Chad, ensure they properly regulate their sides of the borders.

However, the neighbouring countries affected by the closure said the border closure violated ECOWAS and African Union protocols.

The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had earlier this month held high-level meetings on the assessment of the situation of the closure of land borders of Nigeria to goods.

The two-day meeting held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso assessed the situation of the closure of the land borders of Nigeria to goods, pursued the overall objective to reach an acceptable solution by all parties and proposed actions for the rapid reopening of the land borders of Nigeria for the free movement of goods.

Air Routes

First Batch of Fleeing Nigerians Arrive from Ukraine



No fewer than 427 Nigerians based in Ukraine arrived Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on Friday Morning.




They arrived en route Romania via Max Air.

This is according to an update by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on its Twitter handle.

The passengers, numbering over 400 from Romania, landed at the private jet terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by 7:10 am (WAT) via a Max Air flight on Friday. They are mostly students who fled Ukraine to Romania following Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European country.

They were reportedly received by government officials and are expected to undergo documentation after which they will head home and self-isolate in line with the COVID-19 protocols. The Federal Government said they will be given some money to enable them to get to their destinations.

Friday’s flight, which was billed to arrive a day earlier, was delayed as the Federal Government cited a hitch in preparing passengers for the check-in process.

Asides Romania, the pickup flights will evacuate Nigerians from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.

Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier said about 5, 000 Nigerians are eligible for evacuation from the warring region. The country will spend $8.5m on the exercise.

Other flights are expected to arrive in the country in the coming days as nations battle to evacuate their citizens.

Already, several African countries had moved their citizens, mainly students, from the conflict zone. Ghana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa were among the first set of nations to evacuate their citizens amid reports of racism by Ukrainian and Polish officials at the border posts.


Read Also: Ex-service Chiefs Arrived Senate For Ambassadorial Screening

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FG approves $8.5 Million for Evacuation of Nigerians in Ukraine



The federal government has approved $8.5m dollars to the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Humanitarian, Disaster Management, and Social Development, towards the evacuation of over 5,000 (registered and unregistered) Nigerians stranded in Ukraine.



Zubairu Dada the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, made the disclosure on Wednesday, noting that three aircraft would be dispatched to four countries.

Dada noted that the pickup flights would be headed to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Two flights from Air Peace and one from Max Air are expected to carry out the evacuation exercise.

He assured that all agencies are fully resourced to ensure that aircraft leave on Wednesday to begin the evacuation. He informed that the flights will embark on a number of shifts until the process is complete.



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Air Routes

FG to Begin Evacuation of Nigerians from Ukraine Tomorrow



The federal government said the first batch of air-lifting of Nigerian citizens trapped in the war-torn Ukraine is now scheduled to take place Wednesday March 2.




Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, stated this on Monday during a meeting with Geoffery Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja,
The evacuation, earlier planned for Monday, was rescheduled for Wednesday to give enough room for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the House of Representatives and the Nigerian foreign missions in Ukraine, Poland and Russia to complete the formalities of moving Nigerians from inside Ukraine to safe borders with neighboring countries.
The House of representative vowed to give every needed support to the ministry to kick-start the evacuation.


Read Also: Nigeria Urges Citizens in Ukraine to Protect Themselves

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