The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it seized rice worth N597.7 billion brought into the country through the borders between January and August, 2016.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr Wale Adeniyi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He said the worth of the commodity confiscated during the period was higher when compared with N330.5 billion value of the goods seized in the same period in 2015.
He said the increase in the seizures was an indication that the Customs was operating zero tolerance to illegal importation of rice.
Adeniyi said the Service’s rapprochement with its counterpart in the Republic of Benin also facilitated the spate of confiscation of rice along the borders between both countries.
“Our seizure on rice from January to August was N597.7 billion as against N330.5 billion during the same period in 2015; this shows a huge increase.
“The number of seizures from the statistics shows that smugglers now know that it is no longer profitable to bring in rice through the borders,” he said.
“So, since importation of rice is now restricted to the ports as even smugglers with one bag of rice are arrested.
“We have a number of arrests, particularly those using motorcycles, donkeys and even small vehicles.
“Rice is a bulk cargo imported into Nigeria. After the meeting we had with our colleagues from the Republic of Benin, we went all out on zero tolerance on importation of rice,’’ Adeniyi said.
He said the volume of rice coming into the country through the borders was currently relatively low, adding that more of the commodity were being brought in through the ports.