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The State Security Service (SSS, also called DSS) has seized 1,207 bags of foreign rice and other contraband materials during raids on warehouses in Adamawa State.
At a press conference in Yola on Tuesday, the state branch controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Jatau Sadu, said the raids were part of the joint anti-smuggling operations of the two agencies.
”The DSS raided some places and found stockpiled in these houses four different items, including 1,207 bags of foreign rice, 10 jerry cans of groundnut oil, 58 bottles of energy drinks and 83 bags of sugar.”
He said the joint CBN and SSS operation was aimed at enhancing growth in Nigeria’s agricultural sector to boost its foreign exchange earnings and also to ensure food security in the country.
“For a long time the CBN has actually been complimenting the effort of the federal government in that respect, especially given our intervention programmes in various sectors of the economy, particularly the agricultural sector,” he said.
”Recently, the CBN introduced the Anchor Borrowers programme and we know the success story in Kebbi State and many other states. In particular, we recorded great success in Adamawa State but we have been encountering some challenges.
“Recently, Nigeria has stepped up from primary level of production to the secondary level of production which is processing, so that we can improve the shelf life of most of our produce. That is why we have the anchor borrowers scheme, because the anchor borrowers will ensure the complete value chain in the agricultural business.
“Unfortunately, these efforts that we are proud of are being frustrated by some unscrupulous elements in our society. People smuggling foreign rice, in particular, thereby frustrating our farmers and the effort of government.
”What we essentially have been able to do is to partner with the security organisation,” he said.
He said because of Nigeria’s porous borders and the inadequate number of customs operatives to man them, the partnership with the SSS became imperative. He said the cooperation has led to seizure of a contraband goods smuggled into the country.
Mr Jatau said that the SSS is planning to distribute the impounded food items to the IDPs camps, motherless baby homes and orphanages, organised almajiri houses, and religious organisation that have organised IDP camps.
Nigeria has banned the importation of rice and also closed its borders to prevent the smuggling of the product and others.
Various agencies of the government including the Customs and the SSS have been involved in ensuring the border closure is effective.
The CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme was to assist local rice farmer with funds and other support mechanisms to boost production.