The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday urged Nigerians to stop consuming foreign rice because it is poisonous.
The NCS Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (retd) gave the advice at a news conference organised by the Ministry of Finance in Abuja.
According to Ali, the Federal Government has not issued a license for the importation of rice.
He reiterated that any rice seen on the streets that were not produced in Nigeria was smuggled.
He said that the imported rice was poisonous because before coming into the country, it must have spent a minimum of five years in the silos.
“A chemical must have been added to sustain its freshness and that chemical is harmful.
“Also, it has been re-bagged with a new date given as the production and expiry date and that is what we consume here which causes diseases.
“So, I appeal to Nigerians to please patronise our own rice, it is available, more nutritious and if you do that you will assist customs by making sure these people are put out of business.”
The Customs boss said that rice importation was one of the biggest challenges the NCS was encountering, adding that it still happens because Nigerians consume imported rice.
He added that Nigerians were not helping matters as they help the smugglers bring in the product.
“We always ask for assistance from Nigerians to apprehend these smugglers but up till now, there is no private citizen that has walked up to us to give us information, the only people giving us information are the rice millers.
“We are working very closely with them to make sure that the rice that comes into this country is validly processed.”
Ali assured that there is no smuggler that is too influential to be arrested, also disclosed that the NCS already has three powerful rice smugglers in custody.