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The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ikeja, on Thursday, said it has seized 7,259 bags of rice, which is an equivalent of over 12 trucks load.
The acting Comptroller, Hussein Ejibunu, who disclosed this at a press briefing stated that the rice was confirmed to have contained lead which is poisonous to public health.
Ejibunu maintained that the discovery was made through laboratory test of the foreign rice carried out by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
He said, “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”.
According to Ejibunu, notable among other seizures recorded within the month of April by the unit include 55,800 litres of PMS; 73 bales of used clothes; 82 units of used fridges; 104 pieces of compressors; 143 bales of new textile; 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 cumulative duty paid value (DPV) of N533,169,520.
“Total of twelve (12) suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures; for committing various customs offences.
“Following series of diligent documentary checks on some initially cleared cargoes, demand notices (DN) were raised to the sum of One Hundred and Eleven Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy-three Naira, Seventy-five Kobo (N111,825,873.75K) which was ultimately collected as revenue for the federal government.
“Apart from the federal government’s policies geared towards the protection of its local economy against foreign competitors, government in her wisdom prohibits goods like: used clothes, used fridges/compressors and used tyres among others; because of their attending effects on the security, health and the economy.
“Therefore, Nigerians are urged to acquaint themselves with the import prohibition list for compliance and to cooperate with the Service to safeguard our country”.
Ejibunu appreciated compliant importers/traders, and assured them of NCS commitment to facilitate their genuine businesses.
He also enjoined 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”.