FG thwarted efforts to donate ship load of poisonous rice to the country by a leading rice producing nation
The Federal Government has thwarted attempt by one of the leading rice producing nations to donate ship load of poisonous rice to the country for use at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the northeast.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said it was discovered that the rice was not fit for human consumption when it was subjected to quality control test in the laboratories.
The minister, however, did not name the donor country. But to forestall a reoccurrence in future, he said, government policy now, was that any country wishing to donate rice to the IDPs must use Nigerian rice.
“Locally made products in the market are fresh but the imported ones; we don’t know how long they had been in the silos. Recently, one country decided to donate a ship load of rice to Nigeria to use and support the IDPs in the northeast; when we subjected the rice to tests, we discovered that the rice was actually poisoned; which means that most of the rice that is imported into the country had been in the silos for 10 to 40 years.”
“But what we have told them is that anybody who wants to support any of the IDPs or anybody in Nigeria should come and buy the locally made rice. The argument is that the rice made here is more expensive and we are saying, even if you can buy half bushel, come and buy. It’s better for us to eat a smaller quantity of nutritious rice than for us to eat poisonous ship load of rice” he said.
He also alerted the Nigeria Customs Service and other law enforcement agencies of plot by smugglers to flood Nigerian markets with over 1million tons of foreign rice, said to have been warehoused in neighbouring Republic of Benin, especially as the Christmas and New Year season approaches.