Customs: ‘Nigerians now use gas cylinders, caskets to smuggle rice and petrol’

The Customs says without tip-off, its difficult to know that tyres could be used to smuggle rice.

Despite the partial closure of land border, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says contraband goods still found their ways into Nigeria because smugglers have devised other means of smuggling illegal items into the country.

The public relations officer of the service, Joseph Attah on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, disclosed that smugglers are bringing contraband goods into Nigeria through unapproved routes.

He added that they now use gas cylinders, tyres and caskets to bring in illegal items.

He said, “People often ask where were customs operatives when contraband goods entered the country without being stopped.

“We have seen a situation where rice is smuggled using gas cylinders or a situation where spare tyres are used, the tyre is perforated and rice is loaded inside and when you open the booth you see what is supposed to be a tyre.

“If you do not have tip-off, you are not likely to know that inside that spare tyre are 10 or 15 mudus (measures) of foreign rice.

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“Another circumstance, smugglers use caskets that are used to carry corpses to either smuggle rice or petrol. They sometimes load petrol in jerry cans and put it inside a casket, wrapped in such a way that you think is carrying a dead body.

“A situation like this, if you don’t have intelligence, you wouldn’t know. For instance, without tip-off, it is unlikely as a human being to accost a vehicle carrying a casket with a supposed dead body and request for such to be opened.

“If people with all these tricks succeed and escape, their smuggled items are what you find in shops, markets and houses.”

In August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari explained that the partial closure of land borders was meant to check the smuggling of food items and arms.

In November, the Federal Government doubled down on its effort to check smuggling of illegal goods in and out of the country by suspending distribution of fuel to communities that are close to the countries borders.

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