Acting Controller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hussein Ejibunu, has appealed to Nigerians to desist from patronizing foreign parboiled rice because ‘some of the imported rice are unhealthy for human consumption.’
Ejibunu stated this at a media briefing in Lagos on Thursday while showcasing some 7,250 bags of rice and other items intercepted by operatives of the unit in the month of April.
He said laboratory tests conducted on the seized rice by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) revealed some contents of lead (a soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element) in the tested rice; making it unfit for human consumption.
“Pursuant to the federal government’s policy that encourages local production of rice against the importation of foreign parboiled rice. This Unit had seized 7,259 (of 50 kg each) bags of rice, an equivalent of over twelve (12) trucks.
“Sequel to a laboratory test analysis on some of the previously seized foreign parboiled rice by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), one of the test parameters indicated some contents of lead (a soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element) in the tested rice; making it unfit for human consumption.
“Consequent upon this laboratory analysis on the foreign parboiled rice; as a responsible government agency, we are letting Nigerians know that apart from the negative economic impact of importing foreign rice into the country, some of these imported rice are unhealthy for human consumption. Thus, we advise consumers to desist from patronizing the federal government banned foreign parboiled rice. We as citizens have a collective responsibility to safeguard our economy and health for the benefit of all,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of other seizures recorded within the review period, Ejibunu said they include 55,800 litres of PMS, 73 bales of used clothes, 82 units of used fridges, 104 pieces of compressors and 143 bales of new textile.
Others are 1,264 pieces of used tyres, 156 cartons of frozen poultry, 7,960 pairs of new shoes, 240 pieces of ladies purse, 93 cartons of tin tomato, 2 units of foreign used vehicles and 11 pieces of used rugs, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N533million.
He said 12 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures and for committing various customs offences.
The Customs boss added that the unit also raised N111million as Demand Notices following documentary checks on some initially cleared cargoes from the port.
He urged Nigerians to acquaint themselves with the import prohibition list for compliance and to cooperate with the Service to safeguard the nation’s economy.
“Apart from the federal government’s policies geared towards the protection of its local economy against foreign competitors, the government in her wisdom prohibits goods like: used clothes, used fridges/compressors and used tyres among others; because of their attendant effects on the security, health and the economy.
“We wish to thank our esteemed compliant importers/traders, as we assure them of our commitment to facilitate their genuine businesses. While we urge the recalcitrant traders to turn a new leaf by embracing legitimate trade, or face the consequences of their actions; because as a Unit, we are better mobilized by the Service, organized and determined with a very high morale to do our job without fear or favour,” he said.