Rice smugglers in Katsina State during last Friday, held special prayers to seek divine intervention against the Customs Service for stopping them from bringing in the product.
Comptroller of Federal Operation Unit of Customs in zone B, Mr. Amade Abdul, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Kaduna yesterday, said report reaching them indicates that the smugglers during the prayers asked God to intervene on the ban of the commodity.
“Reports had it that they organised prayers during Juma’at prayers that God should touch the minds of Customs officials who are trying to stop food from entering their town.
"No, we are not their enemies and we are not trying to stop food from entering their area. We are only implementing government policies on the illegal smuggling of rice. This is in the interest of all of us because it will allow farmers in our country to do well,” he said.
He urged clerics and traditional rulers in the areas to educate their people with their sermons and preaching and not to mislead them.
“The prayers showed they are ignorant of government policies, especially as its concerns rice importation. There is a laid down procedure for anyone willing to import rice into the country. If you follow the procedures, nobody will challenge you,” he added.
He lamented that rice smugglers have now resorted to the use of motorcycles to ferry their commodity into the country through border towns in Katsina.
“Motorcycles operators are now trooping from Yobe, Borno and all other parts of the North to Katsina State to join in the business of rice smuggling. This is not good because we don’t know the kind of persons that are riding the bikes, aside from the fact that their activities is against the ban of rice”, he said.