ECONOMIC SABOTAGE: Nigerian Breweries Caught In A Rice Smuggling Scandal

Wale Abideen

Nigerian Breweries, NB PLC has been described as a multinational company operating in Nigeria with the motive of sabotaging government effort. This was the believe of residents around border communities who told our correspondent that trucks belonging to the company operates smuggling business. In a blatant disregard to the anti-smuggling law, NB-PLC, one of the leading beer producing companies in the country has continued to engage in rice smuggling as border security agents reveal how the company’s trucks continually smuggled foreign rice into the country

To this end, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has vowed to investigate the incessant use of trucks belonging to the Nigerian Breweries Plc to convey smuggled bags of foreign rice.

The customs recently intercepts truck conveying crates of drinks tucked with smuggled bags of rice belonging to the Nigerian Breweries.

WE gathered that a month ago, the FOU,Zone A intercepted 163 bags of rice concealed and desperately hidden in crates of beer being manufactured by the Nigerian Brewery PLC.

Mohammed Uba, FOU Zone A Comptroller in a press briefing last Wednesday said, “We will investigate the incessant use of the Nigerian Breweries trucks to smuggle rice into the country. We will be fair to the company; we will invite them to give their side of the story.

Uba had earlier advice from reputable organizations to be wary of drivers who may have ulterior motives than their job description.

Speaking further, the custom boss said that “My advice and warning to individual and private organization employing drivers and other workers using their mobility to convey their goods is that they should look at the credibility of such employees because they can dent the image of the company and slow down the process of making their gains,”

In the same vein, the unit said it intercepted nine trailers load of smuggled rice numbering about 5,516 bags and recovered N1.039 billion for the federal government.

It also seized 30 exotic vehicles, 1068 cartons of frozen poultry products, 216 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 683 pieces of used tyres and sacks of Indian Hemp.

Uba said, “Having deepened our anti-smuggling operations between April 10th to May 15, 2018, we have intercepted various contrabands and other goods on detention with a duty paid value (DPV) of N1.10billion.

“The unit through its interventions also recovered N29million from under-payments making a cumulative of N1. 39billion within the weeks under review.

“The detained/seized items include: 30 Exotic vehicles including 7 Toyota Hilux (2018 models), 3 Toyota Prado Jeep (2017), 1 Range Rover, 1 Ford Edge (2015), 5,516 bags of foreign parboiled rice (9 trailers), 1,078 cartons of frozen poultry products, 216 Jerry cans of vegetable oil, 173 bales of used clothing, 683 piece of used tyres, 8 sacks of Indian hemps weighing 134 kg among others.”

The FOU Zone A also noted at the press briefing that two containers were seized for alleged false declarations and N25million recovered from the importers.

“Also, two containers with no: MSKU130295/2 and MRKU877714/0 have been seized for false declaration with a DPV of over N25 million alone.”

The CAC also read riot act as smugglers saying the unit will make the zone unfavourable for them.

“We will continue to make this zone uncomfortable for smugglers to operate and urge every Nigerian to be patriotic and report any smuggling activities in their areas to the Service and any intelligence provided will be treated in confidence.

“Let me advise these economic saboteurs as well as fraudulent importers to invest their resources towards legitimate trade and desist from engaging in smuggling activities, as the Service and indeed the Unit will not renege on our statutory functions most especially in suppressing smuggling,” he added.

According to investigations, Nigerian Breweries PLC has not being dealing with importation of rice but residents of border communities were said to have tipped security agencies on how the NB trucks were frequent in their area conveying smuggled rice into the country. The acts that is capable of creating economic crisis in the rice investment sub sector.


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