The Informant247 Investigative Unit exposed how corrupt security officials help smugglers to import rice from Benin Republic into Nigeria through illegal Kwara border route.
In 2015, the Nigerian Government placed a ban on the importation of rice through land borders and imposed a hefty 70% tariff on imports coming through the ports. However, despite these restrictions, numerous incidents of smuggling and seizures of this contraband by the Nigerian Customs Service have been reported. In this investigation, SALIHU, Ayatullahi uncovers the existence of an illegal border route in Baruteen Local Government Area of Kwara State, where about 250 smugglers collaborate with security operatives to smuggle an average of 5,000 bags of 50kg rice into Nigeria on a daily basis.
Despite several other reported cases, the operation along this route remains clandestine, known only to the smugglers, corrupt security officials and local residents.
The day was Monday, and the early morning sky was shrouded in a thick blanket of gray clouds. Raindrops fell steadily, creating a rhythmic symphony as they danced upon the borderlands between Kenu, Nigeria and Kabo, Benin Republic. It was a fitting backdrop for any daring adventure.
Hundreds of motorcycles roared to life in Kenu, their engines reverberating through the air. Their riders aged between 16 to 25, with a shared purpose burning in their eyes, set off with determined speed. They all shared a single mission: to smuggle rice into Nigeria from neighbouring Benin Republic.
They are part of a secret network of smugglers—spread across communities in Baruteen Local Government areas—who embarked on this lucrative yet illegal journey. They knew that in Benin Republic, rice was available at a significantly cheaper price compared to the rates in Nigeria.