This unprecedented antic of moving rice in an ambulance under the guise of corpses from Benin Republic into Nigeria was uncovered yesterday at the Seme Border by the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) who promptly arrested the vendor.
According to Customs officials at Seme Border, the suspected smuggler, Moses Degbogbahun, arranged 11 50kg bags of rice in place of a corpse in his Volvo ambulance with Lagos registration number DV 74EKY. Luck, however, ran out on him when he was subjected to a rigorous search by an officer who had observed him move “corpses” across the border regularly without being searched.
His frequent movement across the border made the officers at Aradagun area of Badagry to suspect foul play prompting them to insist on seeing the “corpse”. But they were, however, amazed to see that they had allowed so many “corpses” across the border without knowing the identities of the dead (rice).
The Customs mobile patrol team leader stated that the frequency of the said ambulance patronising the international route with the “dead bodies” had become alarming making it necessary to ascertain the identity of the dead.
Rice smuggling across Seme Border became a lucrative trade to warrant such antic when the Federal Government banned rice importation into the country in its attempt to boost local capacity.