Over 40,000 bags of rice seized by the Nigeria Customs Service have been shared to Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, its Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali, has stated.
The NCS CG, represented by its Deputy Comptroller-General, Mr. Umar Ilya, said this on Thursday in Abuja, during a joint press briefing with the acting Director-General of National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, on the outcome of laboratory tests conducted on the confiscated plastic rice allegedly imported into the country.
At the event, Oni explained that no plastic rice was imported into the country.
She, however, said the seized rice was “contaminated with microorganisms above permissible limit.”
“Based on the above laboratory result, the product is not plastic but rice contaminated with micro-organisms above permissible limit, hence the seized rice consignment is unsatisfactory and therefore unwholesome for human consumption. The consignment upon handover by the Nigeria Customs Service shall be destroyed,” Oni emphasised.
While explaining the circumstances surrounding the alleged plastic rice, he said the NCS only responded to a security alert issued by the Office of the National Security Adviser on the importation of plastic rice into the country.
On the bags of good rice seized from traders who illegally imported the staple food to Nigeria, Ilya explained that the NCS had after subjected the rice to test had given them to IDPs.
He said, “We have seized over 40,000 bags of rice so far since the ban on importation of rice through the land borders. Those are the bags of rice that are being shared to the IDPs camps. But that is after we have tested and certified them suitable for consumption.”
He urged warehouse owners across the country not to accept smuggled products into their facilities.
“We enjoin transporters to reject moving such products, as under the law, both smuggled products and the means of conveyance are liable to seizure. We will rely on the synergy with NAFDAC, and other agencies of government to ensure that smuggled and unhygienic products are not allowed in Nigeria,” he said.