Traders Decry Smuggling of Rice, Despite Idiroko Border Re-Opening
Traders operating at the Nigeria’s land border with Benin republic at Idiroko, in Ogun State, have expressed concern that rice smuggling across illegal routes is growing despite the re-opening of the border last April 22nd.
The border had been shut down in August 2019, by the Buhari administration along with other land borders, to curb smuggling in and out of the country.
Most of those who spoke with Rockcity FM acknowledged that economic activities have improved since the re-opening of the border.
But they told Rockcity FM that most of the traders who resorted to illegal routes during the prolonged shutdown of the border, have refused to return to the approved customs post at Idiroko.
Chairman of the Nigeria Licensed Customs Agencies, Alhaji Ibrahim Shina told a Rockcity FM correspondent, Yemi Eniola that traders from Nigeria and neighbouring countries are already used to the illegal routes to smuggle goods in and out of the country.
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He calls for a deliberate efforts by federal government to persuade traders to return to the approved customs post at Idiroko, for their across the border businesses.
Shina explained that the increasing use of illegal routes at the expense of the approved border, is depriving government of revenue, and causing loss of jobs in the axis.
Meanwhile, a litre of petrol is selling as high as N500 at Idiroko, due to the shutdown of filling stations close to the border, thereby encouraging smuggling of petrol from other parts of Ogun West into the border community.
For instance, smugglers of petrol are expanding the capacity of the fuel tank of their vehicles to smuggle more petrol into the area.
Speaking on the development, the comptroller of area one command of Nigeria Customs in the state, Bamidele Makinde confirmed the high price of petrol at Idiroko.
He said the high price of petrol is making living in the area very difficult, and also encouraging more people to join the petrol smuggling business.