The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has ordered the removal of rice from the import restriction list.

Shedding more light on the new development, the customs spokesman, Mr Wale Adeniyi, in a statement said “Over the years importation has been restricted to the seaports because border authorities have found it difficult to effectively monitor and control importation of rice.

“When the decision to ban it (rice) was taken it was not an effective measure because smuggling of the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance including small trucks, bicycles and even animals – putting them on donkeys and some actually carry it on their heads.

“These new measures will be for customs to reorganise their anti-smuggling operations in the border areas and ensure that all those importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty.”

Recently, Hameed Ali said 99 per cent of rice smuggled through the land borders are not fit for human consumption.