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Association raises alarm over smuggled rice

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Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) has alerted that smuggled foreign rice are beginning to flood the markets through the land borders.

The association said that more than one million tonnes of rice smuggled into Nigeria from neigbouring countries have started hitting the markets ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The Chairman, RIPAN, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed and the Secretary of the union, who is a former Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa, wrote a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, on the situation.

He said that investigations show that shiploads have arrived and the rice were being warehoused in neighbouring countries, waiting to be smuggled into Nigeria.

The warehouses, he alleged were located in Republics of Benin, Niger and Cameroon.

They said that in Abuja on Thursday that the trend would kill local rice industry if not checked.

They explained that over N200 billion worth of investments in the sector would be destroyed.

“And please be reminded that among countries in the West Coast of Africa, only the Nigerian market consumes parboiled rice and this list shows that all the ships conveyed parboiled rice.”

They stated that the petition was sent to the President through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.

The association had briefed the Nigerian Customs Service on the matter.

“If this is not checked, it will kill the huge investments made by the Federal Government in the various rice intervention programmes.

“It will also destroy the billions of naira invested by private sector stakeholders in the rice value chain.

“It will undermine the zeal and efforts of over 25 million Nigerian farmers across the country who have gone back to farming in response to the present administration’s call for the diversification of the economy through agriculture.”

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) had restated the ban on importation of rice through land border.

Mr. Wale Adeniyi, the spokesman of NCS, said that they would clamp down on any rice coming in through the land border.


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