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FG intercepts 45 trucks used for smuggling

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By Abraham Adekunle

Thirty-two food-smuggling routes out of Nigeria uncovered by FG.

The Federal Government’s recent revelation about the extent of food smuggling out of Nigeria has brought to light a network of 32 routes used for this illicit activity. Vice President Kashim Shettima made this disclosure during a conference on Public Wealth Management held in Abuja, shedding light on the magnitude of the problem that threatens the nation’s food security and economic stability. In a recent interception operation, authorities seized 45 trucks loaded with grains, primarily maize, attempting to leave the country through one of the smuggling routes in Illela, Sokoto State.

This significant haul of intercepted trucks underscores the scale of the challenge posed by food smuggling and its detrimental impact on Nigeria’s economy and food availability. According to Vice President Shettima, the interception of these trucks resulted in an immediate drop in the price of maize in the area, highlighting the distortion of local markets caused by illegal cross-border trade. The gravity of the situation is further emphasized by the existence of numerous clandestine routes facilitating the movement of foodstuffs out of the country, indicating a systemic issue that demands urgent attention and decisive action from relevant authorities.

VP Shettima urges unity against food price crisis.

While addressing the rising prices of foodstuffs in Nigeria, Vice President Shettima stressed the need for unity and collective action to confront the forces undermining the nation’s stability and prosperity. He urged Nigerians to transcend political divides and prioritize the common good, emphasizing the resilience of the country in overcoming present challenges. However, the Federal Government’s efforts to curb food smuggling extend beyond mere interception operations. Authorities have identified hoarding and illegal smuggling as key factors driving the soaring prices of food items in the country, exacerbating the hardship faced by ordinary citizens.

Also, the joint border patrol team of the Nigeria Customs Service, Sector 4, recently intercepted truckloads of food items destined for Niger Republic through the Kebbi border, underscoring the cross-border nature of the problem. Customs Coordinating Comptroller, Kolapo Oladeji, emphasized the determination of law enforcement agencies to clamp down on food smuggling activities, vowing to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to curb this illicit trade. Despite the border closures imposed by ECOWAS, unscrupulous individuals continue to exploit legal loopholes and illicit channels to divert essential food commodities meant for the Nigerian market to neighbouring countries.

Nigeria’s strategy in tackling food smuggling.

In light of these challenges, it is imperative for the Nigerian government to adopt a multi-faceted approach to address food smuggling comprehensively. This approach should encompass stringent enforcement measures, including enhanced border surveillance and collaboration with neighbouring countries to prevent the illegal movement of goods across borders. Furthermore, there is a need for targeted interventions aimed at addressing the root causes of food smuggling, such as poverty, lack of economic opportunities, and weak regulatory frameworks.

By investing in initiatives that promote economic development, empower local farmers, and strengthen regulatory oversight, Nigeria can mitigate the drivers of food smuggling and safeguard its food security. Moreover, efforts to combat food smuggling should be complemented by initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing domestic food production. By prioritizing investments in agricultural infrastructure, research and development, and farmer education and training, Nigeria can bolster its domestic food production capacity and reduce reliance on imports, thereby reducing vulnerabilities to food smuggling.

Related Article: FG farmers’ scheme fail as smuggling persists

To sum up, the scourge of food smuggling poses a significant threat to Nigeria’s food security and economic stability. Addressing this multifaceted challenge necessitates a coordinated and multi-dimensional approach, encompassing robust enforcement measures, targeted interventions, and strategic investments in sustainable agriculture. By undertaking decisive action to curb food smuggling activities, Nigeria can safeguard the well-being of its citizens and ensure the availability of affordable, nutritious food for all, thereby fostering resilience and prosperity across the nation.

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