Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Nigerian Customs Service yesterday said it has seized over 40,000 bags of rice recently.
The seized rice according to the Deputy Comptroller-General, Mr. Umar Ilya, have been shared to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
He spoke yesterday during a joint press briefing with the acting Director General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Yetunde Oni, on the suspected seized rice.
Ilya who was responding to question said, “we have seized over 40,000 bags of rice so far since the ban on importation of rice through the land boarder.”
“ Those are rice shared to the IDP camps after we tested and certified them suitable for consumption.”
Explaining the circumstances surrounding the alleged plastic rice, Ilya said the service only responded to security alert issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser on the importation of plastic rice into the country.
“You may recall that recently, our operatives in Lagos intercepted a consignment of Rice, based on credible intelligence. Customs action was based on earlier intelligence we received from Office of the National Securit Adviser, alerting us and other frontline agencies that large consignments of plastic rice were said to have been shipped from the Far East to Africa. As the largest market for imported rice in Africa, customs took the alert seriously and charged officers to watch out for such imports that do not conform to regulatory requirements.
“When the consignments of rice in question were brought to customs warehouse, our apprehension became heightened when we observed glaring lapses in the packaging. The bags of rice had no NAFDAC Number. Batch number, manufacturing or expiry dates. We could also not see any detail about the manufacturers on the bag. We were left with no option than escalating our findings to the agency that is statutorily charged with the responsibility of confirming the true status of the import.
“As required by the law, officials of NAFDAC were invited to draw samples for laboratory analysis. However as we know social media works in our clime, the outcome we are about to hear today was pre-empted.”