Tambuwal, Sultan to Customs: Revisit Policy on Rice Importation
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Following the untold hardship on Nigerians resulting from the ban on importation of essential commodities, especially rice through land borders, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state and Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar have called on the Federal government via the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to review import of in order to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians.
Both leaders who spoke at different fora when they received the Controller General of Customs, Col Hamid Ali (rtd), at the Sultan Palace and Government House, respectively in Sokoto on Monday, were unanimous on the need for Federal government to shift her position in favour of allowing Importation of rice through land borders.
Governor Tambuwal on his part said, “I am sure you know how tough things are in the country. So I appeal to you to always implement policies with human face. If certain policies that would take a vast majority of people out of jobs are introduced, palliative measures should be introduced to mitigate the effect of the hardship they will face,” the Governor said.
On rice importation, Tambuwal urged FG to be flexible before the country becomes self-sufficient in rice production. “I urge you to show some flexibility in the policy.”
The Governor insisted that although there was long term benefit of the policy, “since many in the country are faced with weak purchasing power, it is imperative that the policy is reviewed to ensure price of commodities are within the reach of the common man.”
Similarly, the Sultan appealed to FG to reconsider her stance of border closure against rice importation, “a commodity that is among the staple foods, especially the masses in the country.
“We are happy with the ban on importation of fire arms and other prohibitive goods. I urge you to go back and look at a way out of this problem created by the ban on rice importation. There is no enough food and there are many ways out.
“Before certain policies are implemented, it is only good that consultations are made with the people. Government came on the good will of the common man and therefore policies should be in his favour,” the Sultan said.
He further kick against the destruction of seized goods and suggested that such goods should be extended to the poor. “Do not destroy seized items, especially the good ones. Those items should be shared instead of destroying them. The purpose of government is to make the common man happy. There is limit to what you can tell someone when he doesn’t have food to eat.”
The Controller General was in Sokoto state to condole the family of a suspected smuggler who was shot in Gwadabawa, Gwadabawa local government of the state. He also visited some Customs formations.