Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged the Nigeria Customs Service to consider lifting the ban on importation of rice through the land borders.
The Sultan made the call when the Comptroller-General of the Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), visited him in his palace in Sokoto on Monday.
He said that the order had brought hardship on the Nigerian masses as it had aggravated scarcity of the commodity in the country.
”The policy should be revisited with a view to make amends and ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians,” he added.
The sultan said that he had been receiving “cries’’ from the masses on their plight over hardship in the land, and appealed to the service to address the issue urgently.
”There is no food in the country hence the need for the borders to be reopened for rice importation,” he said.
He, however, commended the renewed efforts of the Federal Government to boost domestic production of rice.
The monarch assured that the traditional institution would continue to sensitize the people to the need to support the policies of government at all levels.
He condemned smuggling and charged the service to mobilize the people to offer information that could aid the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators.
”Nigerians must be duly informed about the negative effect smuggling has on the nation’s economy,” he said.
Earlier, Ali had said that he was in Sokoto to effectiveness of enforcement of the ban on rice importation through land borders.
He said that the order was a measure by the Federal government to encourage and protect local production of the commodity.
Ali solicited the support of the Sultanate council in ensuring the success of the fight against smuggling.