The Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Wale Adeniyi, in an interview in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the worth of the commodity confiscated during the period was higher when compared with N330.5 billion worth of rice seized in the same period in 2015.
He said that the increase in the seizures was an indication that the customs was operating zero tolerance to illegal importation of rice.
Adeniyi said that the service’s rapprochement with its counterpart in the Republic of Benin also facilitated the spate of confiscation of rice along the borders between both countries.
“Our seizure on rice from January to August was N597.7 billion as against N330.5 billion during the same period in 2015; this shows a huge increase.
“The number of seizures from the statistics shows that smugglers now know that it is no longer profitable to bring in rice through the borders.
“So, since importation of rice is now restricted to the ports as even smugglers with one bag of rice are arrested.
“We have a number of arrests, particularly those using motorcycles, donkeys and even small vehicles.