The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS says rice brought in by operators in the free trade zones, FTZs, cannot be sold across the country.

NCS said this is to ensure total compliance to the ban on the importation of rice.

The Public Relations Officer of NSC, Joseph Attah, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Abuja, that the Service has taken its war against rice smuggling to the FTZs.

Attah said that due to the high level of security along the border lines, some Nigerians have started taking advantage of the status of the FTZ to smuggle the commodity.

“Just last week the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali, issued a directive that no rice should exit from FTZ into the country. We know that the FTZ enjoys special status under the law.

“It is known as a country within a country. That is why some items that are not allowed in the country are allowed by law to be imported into the country by the operators in the FTZs.

“However, the NSC has discovered that some operators are taking advantage of the status of the FTZs. They now circumvent the law restricting rice importation through the land borders.

“So if we block the land borders and allow operators of FTZ to bring in rice through the seaport into the FTZs and then exit into Nigeria, our efforts at the land borders will be in vain,’’ Attah said.