Usman Abubakar Babura
In spite the ban on Rice importation via land borders by the Federal government, some unpatriotic citizens still use motorcycles and even camels to import the commodity through illegal routes along Maigatari border boundary with the Niger Republic and made their way by beating Customs operatives that are manning the borders, our reporter findings have revealed.
It was gathered that those smugglers use one popular route, Gamji roads, and other miniatures ones along Nigeria andNiger Boarders at Maigatari and Yobe state to import Rice and conspires with three dealers in Maigatari town who have large warehouses where they keep the foodstuffs in stock for onward transportation to Kano state.
It was reliably gathered that the carts and motorcycles are used during the day while in late night, the smugglers use trailers, lorries, and Canters to bring in the smuggled rice, spaghetti among other contraband goods into Maigatari town in large quantities without the consent of the Customs service are at the main border posts, even though they go round on routine patrol, their patrol cannot even stop the smugglers from perpetrating the illegal act.
A competent source told our reporter at the border post that the smugglers sometimes connives with Camels herders to wrap up bags of rice, cartons of spaghetti, illicit drugs and beer in their potash container to get into the country under the guise that they are on potash trade.
It would be recalled that at some point in time, officers and men of the Jigawa State Hisbah Command intercepted and arrested one Buzaye from Niger with 13 Camels loaded with potash, but when they opened their loads, it was found out that they were large number of Heineken bottles of beer amounting to 300 bottles.
When our correspondent visited the Maigatari border, the officer in charge of Customs manning the border was not on sit, but another officer there refused to comment and referred our reporter to Kano /Jigawa Command of the Nigeria Customs service as he said that saying they have no power to speak to the press on the matter.
One of the officers who spoke in confidence, confided in this reporter that their job was to suppress smuggling, but they cannot stop it hundred percent, ‘’ what makes me terrified, is the illegal importation of goods such as arms and illicit drugs that are imported through our borders, but if its rice or other things, we usually seizes them, if a smuggler was lucky to beat us today, Tomorrow will be our turn and we shall catch him,’’ he pointed out.
He added that even recently, they made four seizures of over 400 bags of imported rice which was imported illegally adding that they have four patrol vehicles at the border area, stating further that his colleagues are stationed even at the small routes with a view to apprehending the smugglers.
He debunked the allegation that Gamji village route was being used to smuggle contraband goods into the country saying it is a mischief, concocted lies and baseless allegations meant to discredit the good name of the Customs Service.