Rice importation is illegal in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, criminalizing it hasn’t caused foreign rice to disappear from Nigerian market.

For some unknown reasons, demand for foreign rice has kept smugglers of the product in business.

But now, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS has vowed to deal ruthlessly with those involved in the smuggling of the product.

To make sure it eliminates all smuggling activities, it is now working with the Nigerian Air Force to deploy drones for border surveillance.

The Deputy Comptroller-General, Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, NCS, Aminu Dangalidima, said this during the issuance of 30 additional Toyota Hilux patrol vehicles to the Strike Force team of the service.

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The 30 patrol vehicles bring to 50 the total number of vehicles issued this month to the team.

The DCG said with the release of the vehicles, the service was in a better position to check the activities of rice smugglers.

“The issuance of the vehicles is part of the Federal Government’s support to curtail smuggling of prohibited items, especially rice. With this robust support coming from the Federal Government, the Nigeria Customs Service is in a better position to deal ruthlessly with the enemies of Nigeria’s security and economic prosperity.

“With these vehicles, our response time at the scene of any smuggling activity will be swift and decisive,” he said.

He added: “We are using technology to check smuggling, and this is part of it. We are even thinking higher than this. We are thinking of having drones and we are also thinking of trying to bring in the Air Force.

“We are also trying to have the un-manned aerial vehicles and others that can assist us; and all these are in progress.”

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