By Aminu Garko
Minna – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday expressed its readiness to curtail rice smuggling in the Niger Area Command comprising Niger, Kwara and Kogi States.
Comptroller Abba Kassim, the Controller in charge of the area, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
He said, “all hands are on deck to prevent smuggling of goods before, during and after Christmas.’’
Kassim said already measures had been put in place to ensure the arrest and possible prosecution of all those involved in illegal businesses.
The controller said the command would not rest in carrying out its constitutional duties of preventing smuggling of goods, especially arms, rice and cars through land borders.
“We have already issued an order to officers deployed to border posts in Tungan Madugu, Kibira and Agbara Rofiya in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger.
“The order was also sent to officers at border posts in Chikanda, Yashikira, Kuso Boso in Barutem Local Government Area of Kwara State to end the illegal business once and for all.
“We are battle ready to end smuggling through our various strategies that will pave way for arrest and prosecution of smugglers.
“We have also reached out to youths in the border communities to assist our field officers with required intelligence information that will assist in curbing all forms of smuggling activities,’’ Kassim said.
According to him, the command is a-no-go area for smugglers as competent officers have been stationed on identified illegal routes of smugglers to ensure their arrest and prosecution.
The controller said that officers of the command were on ground with basic working facilities to end the illegal activities once and for all.
“As the year comes to an end, we are witnessing increased smuggling, especially rice for festivities and we are battle ready for them.
“So, there is no hiding place for rice smugglers in this zone. They should go back to farm and engage in commercial farming.
“Whatever tricks they use, we will combat them because we have zero tolerance for smuggling in this zone,’’ Kassim said.