By Esther Onyegbula.
How safe is that half bag or complete bag of rice you simply purchased the marketplace? How sure are you that the rice is not amongst the ones smuggled by dishonest traders from Cotonou in Republic of Benin through Seme and transferred inside the vehicle bonnet or under the safety seat or in other surprise parts of the lorry, and hence suitable for usage?
These and more posers are waiting on sincere responses in addition to immediate intervention if Nigeria is to be taken severe about her battle versus smuggling through her permeable borders and guaranteeing the health of her residents.
Sunday Lead examination exposes that motorists, traders, etc take part in these unhealthy modes of smuggling rice to prevent being jailed at the many Custom-mades checkpoints situated at Agbara, Elijah, Aradagun, Mowo and Iyafin roundabout prior to Seme.
In between the Seme border and Iyana-Iba on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, there are numerous bays where bags of rice smuggled from Republic of Benin into Nigeria are re-bagged by regional.
‘ Firewall programs’ as smugglers are employed regional parlance.
A few of the bays lie at Igbo-Elerin Bus Stop, Iyana-Era, Alaba Rago and under the bridge opposite Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED).
At these bays, it prevails to discover ‘Firewall programs’ and their accomplices dump little bags of rice from the bonnets, under the seats and other surprise parts of cars and trucks. You hardly ever discover the bags of rice inside the cubicles usually created to bring products.
The bags of rice are then repackaged into huge bags as they were initially, sealed and resold to unwary purchasers.
Abudu Sule, a chauffeur who carries products for dealerships who take part in this trade, states, “We normally put rice inside bonnets and under the safety seat due to the fact that of the worry of Custom-mades’ authorities at checkpoints. If we bring the items usually inside the cubicle or inside the vehicle, Customs’ authorities will take them. I am not a physician to understand if it makes the rice unhealthy for usage. I am paid to carry the products which is what I do by all ways possible. And guaranteeing that the products aren’t taken is why I am paid”.
READ ALSO: 5 die, as Custom-mades officers encounter smugglers in Kastina.
A mom of 4, Kehinde Lawal, who likewise goes to Seme to purchase rice for sale, likewise discusses how challenging it is to generate the item into Nigeria. She states, “The roadway is really difficult now, we discover it challenging to bring a single bag of rice from Seme to Alaba where we normally offer them. Ladies like me who purchase a couple of bags of rice or a gallon of groundnut oil deal with a great deal of troubles transferring it due to the fact that of the activities of Customs authorities on the roadway. “However those smugglers, widely called.
‘ Firewall software’, who, our company believe, have actually offered Custom-mades’ authorities kickback are the ones that have totally free passage. That is why we need to design ways to get the rice to its last location.”.
On her part, another female, widely called Iya Ibeji, stated, prior to now, when Custom-mades’ authorities took their items, they would plead and the authorities will gather a little cash from them and provide their products back.
She, nevertheless, stated, “Nowadays, as soon as they (Custom-mades’ authorities) take the products, it is over as no quantity of asking will make them launch the products back to you specifically the Custom-mades at the checkpoints around Elijah Bus Stop. Just recently, they took my 4 bags of rice and they didn’t return them. My kids are presently in the house due to the fact that I can’t pay their schools costs as an outcome of the taken products. For every single bag I purchase and effective transportation from Seme to Alaba, I make in between N800 and N1,000 The only method you can make N1, 200 on a bag is when you divide it into portions when transferring.
” Paradoxically, the products and product of the genuine smugglers who smuggle big amounts of rice and groundnut oil are enabled to cruise through after ‘scheduling’ which is done prior to showing up each checkpoint along the path. In the dead of the night, you will discover trailer loads of contraband products passing easily with no molestation while females who are attempting to make ends fulfill go through all good manners of embarrassment and difficulties”.
Another trader, who merely determined herself as Uche and offers relatively utilized bags at Vespa Market along Lagos-Badagry Expressway, stated that traders that generate rice and turkey from Seme are the ones at the getting end of the Custom-mades’ authorities’ activities. And rice sellers, who are primarily females generating 3 or 4 bags at a time, are worst impacted. It is challenging for Customized authorities to overlook their activities.
Apart from traders, Sunday Lead discovered that some policeman, army officers and marine scores likewise take part in rice smuggling along the Lagos-Seme axis. Normally, uniformed officers utilize on the chance their task manages them to take part in this act.
The dishonest officers normally board industrial buses from Seme to Iyana-Iba and being in the front seat next to the chauffeur with their smuggled bags of rice or turkey or groundnut oil in the course of the journey.
While a few of them are totally worn their uniforms, bulk of them, specifically army officers, use their camouflage caps and military vests. And unlike the civilian Firewall software, who shares the rice into smaller sized potions which he conceals in the vehicle bonnet, under the seat or other surprise locations in the vehicle, to prevent being taken by Custom-mades’ authorities, these military officers bring complete bags undisputed. It was found out that they normally purchase rice at Seme at a less expensive rate and offer to sellers.
The uniformed workers make a great deal of cash due to the fact that they, frequently, do not pay the bus motorists as they assist to guarantee that Custom-mades’ authorities and other security authorities at checkpoints do not difficulty the motorists, who are likewise bring their own smuggled products, throughout the journey.
Some years back, military authorities from Ojo Barracks were stated to have actually secured on a few of their workers associated with this act at Agbara when their activities ended up being humiliating.
Speaking on the health ramifications of transferring foods in the bonnet and under the seat to name a few surprise locations in an automobile, public health doctor, Teacher Akin Osibogun, who is likewise a previous Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Mentor Medical Facility (LUTH), stated, “Depending upon what else has actually remained in the vehicle, you understand there might be all sort of contamination. The pollutants can be germs, it might be even chemical. For example, if they had actually brought chemical or soap or cleaning agent in the vehicle and the rice puts inside the vehicle, absolutely when packaging and re-bagging, those things (chemical or soap or cleaning agent) will be parked with it.
” If you are purchasing rice, it is a good idea to clean the grains correctly prior to boiling. That is one method of lowering the danger. If you then boil the rice correctly, the majority of the hazardous organisms will pass away. However then, transferring rice inside vehicle bonnet and engine isn’t a healthy method to deal with food.”.