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Warehouse Filled With Plastic Rice Uncovered In Lagos

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday disclosed that it has uncovered a warehouse in Lagos where plastic rice was stored for sale during the Yuletide. The unnamed warehouse was discovered in Ikeja area of Lagos State. Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Compt. Haruna Mamudu, who disclosed this yesterday, said the…

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday disclosed that it has uncovered a warehouse in Lagos where plastic rice was stored for sale during the Yuletide.

The unnamed warehouse was discovered in Ikeja area of Lagos State.

Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Compt. Haruna Mamudu, who disclosed this yesterday, said the unit had so far evacuated 102 bags of the plastic rice for further analysis.

According to him, the rice which was tagged ‘best tomato’ had no manufacture or expiry date as well as National Agency for Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) registration number.

‘‘As I speak with you, we have successfully evacuated 102 bags of 25kg branded tomato Rice without any date of manufacture not to talk of expiration date and NAFDAC Batch Number.

“We are still investigating to ascertain how much of this rice has been circulated and how best to retrieve it in order to protect and safeguard the health of Nigerians and bring those behind it to book,” he said.

The CAC said that preliminary analysis of the rice after boiling it showed that the rice is sticky and not hygienic for consumption.

“Preliminary analysis on the plastic rice after boiling showed how sticky the rice was and only God knows what would have happened if our people consumed it. I advise these economic saboteurs who see the Yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business as the unit has devised other operational modalities that will make them count their loses,” he said.

He lauded Nigerians who provided intelligence for the discovery of the warehouse where the plastic rice was discovered.

“You will agree with me that smuggling is a global phenomenon which cannot be curbed entirely but can be brought to its barest minimum. I also want to use this medium to appreciate well-meaning Nigerians who provided us with prompt information that led to this discovery,” Mamudu stated.

Meanwhile, the federal government has stopped the sale of its 23 silos nationwide to address the challenge of food shortage.

The minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe disclosed this yesterday, in Abuja, at a special town hall meeting organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture for youths.

He also attributed the scarcity and high cost of fertiliser in the country this year to Boko Haram insurgents who according to him, use its components to make bombs and other explosives.

Ogbe said that the silos, with the capacity to hold two million tons of grains, would be used to store the commodities which are currently been exported to West African nations by farmers.

Responding to questions on the looming food shortage due to export of grains by farmers to neighbouring countries, the minister said government cannot stop the trend.

He explained that as member of ECOWAS and signatory to the Commission’s Free Trade Agreement, it would be illegal for the country to stop the exportation.

“Government cannot stop such exportation but rather would store grains in its silos,’’ he said.

The minister further noted that stopping exportation of grains would amount to depriving farmers from having huge returns.

“You are telling the farmers to grow food over the years, they have done so and their returns have been very low but for the first time they are making money and they are happy.

“People come from Ghana to buy maize, they come from Mali to buy sorghum and millet and so on and we are monitoring but we cannot stop them

“This is the best incentive you can give somebody in any line of business that there is a market and there is profit,’’ Ogbe added.

The minister further stated that to ensure food security in the country and also have reserve for export, government will from January 2017, intensify irrigation farming for production of grains thrice in a year.

He added that about 10 irrigation lakes or dams would be built in every state to enable growing of food all year round.

He decried the situation where states like Oyo, Kano and Ogun have 22, 23 and 12 dams respectively, but none of them are used for irrigation.

The minister attributed the challenge facing the country to the abandonment of agriculture for over 30 years.

Elaborating on the issue of fertiliser, Ogbe stated that the delay in accessing the product led to the hike in price, but assured that it would be sold at about N5,000 in the next planting season as arrangements were being made for transportation by rail.

“Fertiliser came late this year due to security challenges.We started moving fertiliser in February to meet up with the farming season but the national security agency stopped us from moving it.

“Over 400 trailer loads of fertilisers were held down in Lokoja for two months because Boko Haram were converting urea among other fertiliser components to make bombs. It took two and half months to get arrangement from security agencies to escort fertilisers from the factories to the farms. We were caught between security problems and food security for the people,” he stated.

The minister disclosed that the federal government had signed an agreement with the Moroccan government for the supply of phosphate and potassium for fertiliser production and expressed optimism that this would assist in further reducing the prices of fertilisers to the barest minimum.

Source:Nigerian News from Leadership News

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