News hotlines: 08111813019, 08025868561
Beware! Influx of contaminated, expired rice coming from Cotonou—Customs warns
The Customs Area Controller of the Oyo-Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Udo-Aka Emmanuel has raised alarm of the influx of contaminated repackaged bags of rice from Benin Republic into the Nigerian market.
He alleged that rice smugglers are repackaging contaminated rice from the Republic of Benin with the aim of supplying them to the Nigerian market.
Explaining the sad development while conducting journalists around a truck and two buses laden with contaminated rice that were impounded along Iseyin-Oyo Road, he said the seized bags of rice had passed their shelf lives, having been stored in various warehouses at the Republic of Benin for so long after the owners found it difficult to smuggle them to Nigeria.
Emmanuel pointed out that to make the rice attractive to buyers, the bags were changed to reflect new expiry dates.
On the details of the seizures, he disclosed that 853 bags of rice were found in the three vehicles, adding that apart from the rice, 395 units of 25 litres of imported vegetable oil were also seized from the smugglers at different locations.
The duty paid value on the rice is N14.6 million while that of the vegetable oil is more than N3 million.
He added further that “These seized bags of rice have been stored in warehouses at the Republic of Benin without proper pest control, making them prone to all manner of diseases.
“We should also understand that most of these smuggled products have exceeded their shelf lives and therefore expired and are not safe for consumption. Yet, they were re-bagged and re-labelled and dumped in our country.
“The smugglers took advantage of the recent mass deployment of officers and men in the Nigeria Customs Service to indulge in their unwholesome activities with the belief that we will be caught off guard.
“No suspect has yet been arrested because the drivers and motor assistants abandoned the vehicles and ran away on sensing that they had been trapped by the patrol team”, Emmanuel confirmed.