The Nigeria Customs Service Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A on Thursday said some imported rice were unhealthy for human consumption.
The Acting Controller of the Unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said during a media conference in Lagos, that this was discovered after a laboratory test was conducted by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on some seized rice.
“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 bags of rice, an equivalent of over twelve (12) truck loads.
“Sequel to a laboratory test analysis on some previously seized foreign parboiled rice by NAFDAC, one of the test parameters indicated some contents of lead (a soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element) in the tested rice.
“This is making the rice unfit for human consumption,” he said.
He said consequently, upon the laboratory analysis, as a responsible government agency, “we are letting Nigerians know that apart from the negative economic impact of importing foreign rice, some of these rice are unhealthy for human consumption.”
Thus, he advised consumers to desist from patronising the Federal Government’s banned foreign parboiled rice.
“We as citizens have a collective responsibility to safeguard our economy and health for the benefit of all,” he said.
Ejibunu listed some items seized in the month of April as: 55,800 litres of petrol, 73 bales of used clothes, 82 units of used fridges, 104 pieces of compressors, 143 bales of new textile.
Others are: 1,264 pieces of used tyres, 156 cartons of frozen poultry products, 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.
He added that the seized items had a cumulative Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N533,169,520.
He said a total of 12 suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures; for committing various customs offences.
He said following series of diligent documentary checks on some initially cleared cargoes, demand notices were raised to N111,825,873.75 which was ultimately collected as revenue for the government.
“Apart from the Federal Government’s policies 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.
“This is 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.
“We thank our esteemed compliant importers/traders, as we assure them of our commitment to facilitate their genuine businesses.
“We urge the recalcitrant traders to turn a new leaf by embracing legitimate trade, or face the consequences of their actions.
“As a unit, we are better mobilised by the Service, organised and determined with a very high morale to do our job without fear or favour,” he said. (NAN