Nigerian Senator, Shehu Sani has taken to social media to mock and query Nigerian Customs over seized imported bags of rice given to Internally Displace Persons, IDPs.
Sani while expressing his concern, in a way spoke the minds of many Nigerians on
why imported thousands of bags of rice already deemed poisonous according to the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), are seized and given to Internally Displace Persons, IDPs.
In a bid to stop the importation of rice into the country, Nigerian Customs Service is assiduously fighting smugglers and has now employed another argument, saying that the rice is poisonous.
The Customs’ argument tending to be tenable was muddied when the same Customs directed that the seized rice should be given to IDPs.
Nigerians are asking: “If what is sauce to the goose should also be sauce to the ganders, why should the ‘poisonous’ rice be withdrawn from Nigerians and yet be given to less privileged Nigerians? Are the IDPs no longer humans?
Leading the pack of Nigerians arguing against Customs’ policy, Senator Shehu Sani in his tweet asked: If the imported rice is poisonous and Nigerian Customs Service is asking Nigerians to stop eating it, what then will happen to thousands of Internally Displaced Nigerians, IDPs, given thousands of bags of same rice?”
Other Nigerians are also plainly saying that millions of Nigerians could have died and would be dying even now if imported rice is really dangerous or poisonous.
One, simply called James, said: “I know the benefits of eating locally produced rice. It is really more healthful than imported which must have spent even more than five years, even up to 15 years in the silos, preserved with chemicals.
“Our own rice is not preserved in the silos at all. It is not even enough and it is twice as costly compared with imported rice.”
Onochie added: “The Comptroller-General of Customs could have stopped after telling Nigerians that our rice is better and richer, instead of condemning imported rice as poisonous.
“If it is really poisonous, why should it be given to IDPs, who are as human as other Nigerians?”
Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) said the Federal Government had not issued license for importation of rice and that any rice seen on the streets that was not produced in Nigeria was smuggled.
He said that the imported rice was poisonous because before coming into the country, it must have spent a minimum of five years in the silos.
“Chemicals must have been added to sustain its freshness and that chemical is harmful.
“Also, it has been re-bagged with a new date given as the production and expiry dates, and that is what we consume here which causes diseases.
“So, I appeal to Nigerians to please patronize our own rice, it is available, more nutritious and if you do that you will assist Customs by making sure these people are put out of business.”
Ali said that rice importation was one of the biggest challenges the NCS was encountering, adding that it still happens because Nigerians consume imported rice.
He added that if Nigerians stop buying the imported rice, smugglers will go out of business and there will be no need to bring it in.
According to him, there is no smuggler that is too big to be arrested, and that the NCS has in custody three big rice smugglers.
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