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    Tuesday, 3 April 2018

    Customs Seize 4,120 Bags Of Rice, Contraband Drugs, Including Tramadol In Rivers
    The federal government on Monday, April 2, cautioned Nigerians over the unhealthy status of imported rice smuggled into the country.

    Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the government could not guarantee the healthy status of the rice having spent months on the high seas and warehouses.
    The minister further pleaded with Nigerians to complement the efforts of the government by consuming only locally-grown and processed rice which he said “is fresher, tastier and healthier’’.
    He said: “We don’t know where or how imported rice is made or how old it is. It is reported that most of the rice dumped on us are old and probably rejected. The citizens of those countries do not eat this rice. The citizens of Benin Republic also do not eat it. But they send it to us.”
    “Unhealthy foods are dangerous to our health. So, let’s eat what we can vouch for.’’
    He, however, noted that rice smuggling was the biggest challenge facing rice production in Nigeria.
    Quoting the Rice Millers Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIMIDAN), he said more than two million metric tonnes (MT) of parboiled rice were smuggled into Nigeria in 2017.
    Mohammed said smuggled rice was primarily sourced from Thailand and India and came into Nigeria through the country’s borders with Benin, Niger and Cameroon.
    “In Benin Republic, the total demand for white rice (white rice is consumed in Benin, against parboiled rice in Nigeria) is 400,000 MT. Yet, the country with a population of about 11 million imports between one million and 1.2m MT of rice annually,: he said.
    “Who are they importing for? Nigerians, of course. In fact, as Nigeria’s rice import falls, Benin’s rice imports increase. Most of the parboiled rice imported by Benin eventually land in Nigeria through smuggling.’’
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