State Government Confiscates 663 Bags of Smuggled Rice

State Government Confiscates 663 Bags of Smuggled Rice
By Joy Okeke

The Ebonyi State Government through the office of the Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace has confiscated 663 bags of rice allegedly smuggled into the State.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Stanley Emegha, revealed this during a press briefing by selected members of the State Executive Council.

According to Emegha, the smugglers, operating along Ndibe, Uwanna and Akpoha beaches in Afikpo North Local Government Area of the State, had a small warehouse where they store the contraband products.
He noted that the crack team of his office operating on a tip-off swung into action and confiscated the bags of rice, including other such products and arrested one of the perpetrators.

Emegha regretted that such illegal business was discovered to have been going on for a long time along those beaches unnoticed, adding that his office was poised to stem such sabotage across the State.

He further recalled that the State Government had earlier banned the importation and sales of foreign rice, raw or cooked, in the State, noting that such activities contravene the law as well as sabotage local rice farmers in the State.

He emphasized that Ebonyi State has enough local supply of rice for both internal consumption and export to other places, adding that the era of dumping unwholesome products in the State is over.

Emegha said, “Specifically last Friday, a tip came to us that some smugglers were bringing contraband rice for a very long time into the State through the Ndibe, Unwana and Akpoha Beaches.“It’s not only rice they smuggle; they also smuggle cocoa among others.

“We were able to confiscate 663 bags and arrested one of them. There were still two boats that were roving our waterway, trying to offload; we are still on them to make sure that they stop such illicit business.”

Briefing on his Ministry, the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Ogbonnaya Obasi, informed that the Executive Council had during the meeting approved the commencement of works on some roads leading into the new Government House Complex at the Abakaliki Centenary city.

According to him, the roads approved for immediate construction included a 2.35km dual carriageway and another 1.05km single lane carriageway leading into the new Governor’s Lodge, the Presidential Lodge and others, almost at the completion stage.

Obasi added: “Recall that in our previous briefing, we informed you of the revocation of the contract for the construction of Ntezi/Agba-Isu Road connecting Ishielu and Onicha Local Government Areas following poor and slow pace of work by the former contractor.

“Today in Exco, approval was given for the rewarding of the project to China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited. Also Ogbujua-Nwanwu Road of about 9.8km in Abakaliki Local Government Area was awarded to CBC Global Civil Engineering Limited.”
The Secretary to State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, who led the Executive Council members to the briefing, applauded Governor David Umahi’s investment in both agriculture and security, calling on citizens to reciprocate government’s gestures by encouraging local production.

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