Operatives of the Border Drill Operations of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have reportedly seized 140 bags of foreign rice at a warehouse in Daura.
The warehouse allegedly belongs to Alhaji Habu Sarkin-Fulani.
Daily Nigerian reports that the owner is a confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Customs operatives, acting on a tip-off, stormed Fegi quarters in Daura, the hometown of the president, and seized the rice.
The bags were allegedly given to the president through Sarkin-Fulani before ban on importation of foreign rice was imposed.
“Alhaji Sarkin-Fulani is a trusted ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. Alhaji Sarkin-Fulani will never touch what does not belong to him, even at the risk of rotting away.
“He keeps everything meant for the president in his warehouse at Fegi area of Daura. Even the president’s farm and cows, Alhaji Sarkin-Fulani is in charge.
“Whenever the president visits Daura, he gives the president account of what is in store for him, and he (Buhari) would direct how the gift items could be utilised or distributed,” a source in Daura told the newspaper.
Nigeria Customs have been raiding warehouses and markets since Nigeria banned importation of foreign rice last year.
On Sunday, Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, stated that the federal government’s closure of Nigeria’s borders has boosted sale and consumption of local rice and other locally-produced commodities.
“l am pleased to note that the consumption of local rice has now gone beyond our imagination”, he said.
“In the Southern part of this country, people do not eat foreign rice anymore. In Ebonyi and Bayelsa States, you can hardly see somebody selling foreign rice.
“Even before the closure of border, when the government changed policy from continuous importation of rice to restriction, the Nigerian farmers have showed that they can produce rice to feed this nation.
“In fact, you can perceive the local rice’s good aroma in the mill, as opposed to the one being imported into the country which does not even add value to our health and which is not even nutritious. So, why should we even bother ourselves about this?
“We have reached a level where in the next two years we will start exporting rice, based on what I saw when I visited the cluster of rice millers at Kura in Kano State, which is about a one-kilometre stretch,” Nanono added.