By Kehinde Ibrahim, Lagos
THE Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday said its officers intercepted 7,250 bags of rice, with laboratory test conducted by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) revealing that about one thousand of the bags of rice named SIMBA contained Lead (a soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element); thereby making them unfit for human consumption.
Addressing journalists in Lagos on Thursday, Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Acting Controller Hussein Ejibunu also said that the unit seized 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 and 7,960 pairs of new shoes amongst others.
According to acting Controller Ejibunu, “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, which is an equivalent of over twelve (12) trucks load.
“Sequel to a laboratory test analysis on some of the 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.
“Notable among other seizures recorded within the month of April are: 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, two units of foreign used vehicles, 11 pieces of used rugs, with a cumulative duty paid value (DPV) of N533,169,520.
“A total of twelve 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 N111,825,873.75K which was ultimately collected as revenue for the federal government.