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FG raises alarm over smuggling of unwholesome food items


Smugglers’ vehicle and goods seized by the Nigerian Customs Service

• Intensifies calls for patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has raised the alarm over increased smuggling of unwholesome food items into the country occasioned by the approaching festive season.

A statement signed by the Director of Information in the ministry, Blessing Lere-Adams said: “The attention of the Ministry of Agriculture has been drawn to the alarming rate at which unpatriotic Nigerians are smuggling agricultural products into the country.

“The products include rice, frozen fish and poultry products (Turkey and Chicken) through the border routes, especially as Christmas and New Year approaches.”

The statement maintained that the importation of rice and frozen fish and poultry products through land borders was illegal and prohibited, warning that the Federal Government would deal decisively with any person, organisations and shop owners, among others, involved in the nefarious activities.

The Federal Government warned that there are serious health hazards associated with illegally imported frozen products due to failure to maintain the cold chain and wrong handling of the products.

Meanwhile, worried by the lack of competitiveness of local manufacturing companies as a result of low patronage among other challenges, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, has intensified calls for support of local industries to create jobs and grow the economy.

Abubakar, who spoke ahead of the National Stakeholders Forum/flag-off of the campaign for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products and services, scheduled for Lagos, stressed that patronage of locally made goods will help revive the ailing industrial sector, as well as promote Federal Government’s job creation efforts.

The minister, who was represented by the Director, Commodities and Products Inspectorate, Omololu Ope-Ewe, made the call when officials of the ministry paid an advocacy visit to The Guardian.

“We need to motivate our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and assist them to become formidable brands by celebrating them.

“This would lead to generation of massive employment, boost our culture and tourism sector, create wealth, reduce poverty and increase the foreign exchange earning capacity of the country” Ope-Ewe stated.

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Blessing Lere-Adams
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