Coronavirus: Oyo rejects 1,800 bags of rice donated by FG

Contraband rice seized by the Nigerian Customs Service
Contraband rice seized by the Nigerian Customs Service

Four days after it received 1,800 bags of rice from the federal government, the Oyo State government has rejected the rice saying they are not good for human consumption.

The federal government ordered the Nigeria Customs Service to donate 1,800 bags of rice each to Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States, and 800 bags to Ondo State as parts of efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on residents of the four states.

The comptroller of Customs, Oyo/Osun command, Helen Ngozi, on Monday handed over the bags of rice each to the governments of Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.

But, Debo Akande, executive adviser on agribusiness to the Oyo governor, Seyi Makinde, said the government had rejected its own share of rice.

Mr Akande, who made this announcement at a press conference in Ibadan on Friday, said the decision to reject the rice was reached after inspections done by the state’s food security committee of the COVID-19 task force.

He said the state government discovered that the rice were infested by weevil and other pests, and took the decision in the interest of the health of residents of the state.

Mr Akande however said the return of the 1,800 bags will not affect the state’s distribution of aid, noting that the state had gathered enough rice for distribution to citizens.

He added that the state was keen on receiving replacement of the bags of rice from the federal government.

“We received this items from the Federal Government via the federal ministry of humanitarian affairs and we brought them here to the warehouse and in it is in the process of further inspection, that we discovered that almost all the grains of rice has been infested by weevil and other pests,” he said.

“On that basis, we formed a committee to inspect it again so that we are really sure of what we have received and we think this rice is not is not consumable for human being.

“As such, such material cannot be distributed as part of palliatives in the state. We don’t want to start providing solution to a problem and then create another problem. We have done random selection we see that similar thing applies across board and the committee has agreed to return to its source. And if there is any replacement of good quality that will be sent to us, we will be glad to receive it.

“We are returning all the 1,800 bags of rice. We initially assumed that it was just some part of it that was infested but some commissioners from five or six ministries came with me to inspect and we realised that it is not just some but quite a lot of them were infested. We do quality control of all that we receive it is just that that was received from the federal government that we found infeste.”

Customs Reacts

The Nigeria Customs Services Oyo/ Osun Area Command, told PREMIUM TIMES that Oyo State government was not fair to the service.

The public relations officer of the command, Abdullah Lagos, said the command suspected foul play.

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“We gave 1,800 to Oyo, 1,800 to Osun, 800 to Ondo and 1,800 to Ekiti. We did not choose for them. Why is it that it is only Oyo State that is rejecting the rice,” he said.

“How can we give the public expired rice. We have special place that we keep rice. And since Tuesday they did not complain and on Friday, you did not call us and you called a press conference. That is too bad.

“We suspect foul play. They came to inspect the rice on Monday. They came to collect on Tuesday. We did not choose for them, they choose. We did not choose for them. Journalists were there. They are not being fair to us.”



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