The chief executive officer of Golden Star Rice Mill, Engr Iliyasu Nazifi, has observed that the successes recorded in the last three years have suffered a setback due to the activities of rice smugglers who gained unhindred access to the market. Nazifi, who spoke with journalists in Kano at the weekend, regretted that the smugglers are thriving with the assistance of some personnel of the authorities concerned who had compromised at the expense of Nigerian citizens. He, however, commended the fresh efforts by the officers at some boarders to tame the ugly activities. According to Nazafi, the success recorded in the last three years recently suffered a setback due to the activities of rice smugglers that had struck back with full force with the assistance of some personnel of the authorities concerned who had compromised at the expense of Nigerian citizens. “No doubt about the fact that we are so optimistic on the attainment of food security in the nation, we have seen how the federal government has contributed in promoting agro activities, and also, we have seen the huge investment being committed by cooperate organisations and individuals in the sector, especially in rice. But, as I speak to you now, many small and medium scale rice milling companies are at the verge of folding up because of the high number of foreign rice being smuggled into the country. Go into the markets and you will understand what I am talking about,” he said. Nazifi further revealed that rice smugglers had been having a swell time as indices showed that some compromising personnel in the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have not been doing their job as expected. Another rice miller, Alhaji Abba Dantata, said he had to cut down 50 per cent of his work force to be able to manage and move in the business, and that it was disheartening to see how foreign rice was being smuggled into the country freely without anything being done by the authorities concerned, which he said made the market flooded with foreign rice to an extent that the locally milled rice could not compete with the foreign. “From January, 2019, to this moment, only God knows how many tonnes of foreign rice have successfully entered our markets. From our records, we were told that 50 trucks laden with foreign rice get into the country daily through smuggling from Abeokuta and other land boarders. That is why foreign rice now floods our markets to the extent that the local one has to remain aside because it cannot compete with the foreign. “This is a bad omen and a threat to all innovations which the federal government has done in the agricultural sector. Many small and medium rice milling companies have closed down and many more will close down also if necessary action is not taken to address the issue. This will in due course affect the mega rice mills,” Dantata lamented. He further called on stakeholders to as a matter of urgency draw the attention of the customs to brace up and double its effort in addressing the smuggling menace to save the country and Nigerians from drowning back to square one.