Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

In continuation of measures to address the food inflation and cost of living crisis, the Federal Government on Tuesday said it had so far intercepted 141 trucks attempting to smuggle grains and other staples to Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adeniyi, said that the service had within two weeks arrested about 120 trucks smuggling food items from Nigeria while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stopped 21 food trucks from leaving the country on Tuesday.

As the CG was disclosing the measures being enforced to ensure food security at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday, truck drivers, who have been targets of attacks by hoodlums, had threatened to declare a strike if the situation persisted.

Briefing the federal lawmakers on the enforcement of the Presidential directive to curtail food smuggling during the sectoral debate series, the Customs CG, Adeniyi, said President Bola Tinubu had given a directive that the arrested trucks be diverted to the local markets in the area where they were arrested to force down the prices of grains and other food items.

“We arrested in two weeks about 120 trucks of food items going out of the country. These are the food items Mr President has asked us to give back to the local markets where the arrests were made. We believe this will drive down the price of food items in these places,” he added.

He stated that the decision to halt the smuggling of food items was to fight hunger and not encourage those who wanted to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

He warned against adopting quick-fix solutions to address the food scarcity in the country, adding that the country must put in place long-term measures to address the situation.

Adeniyi explained that the Customs were playing their part in ensuring that the problem of food security was addressed, adding that currently, most agriculture inputs attract zero duty and the value-added tax.

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