The Ebonyi State government has set up a task force to move into markets and confiscate foreign rice found in them.
The state governor, David Umahi, who had earlier pronounced a ban on rice imported into Nigeria, disclosed this while performing the ground breaking ceremony of ultra modern Kpirikpiri market on Monday.
The governor insisted that for anyone to sell foreign rice in Ebonyi, the person must ensure compliance with all due processes to certify it is not poisonous; an indication the ban is not total as the federal government which has the powers to restrict import still allows legal importation of rice.
“We have set up a Taskforce and directed them to confiscate foreign rice found in our market. The person should give us the certificate of the quality of the rice, you have to prove the import duties you paid for it, where you brought it from and you give us Standard Organization of Nigeria certificate to prove that the rice is not poisonous.”
Mr. Umahi said foreign rice is poisonous as according to him, some of them were stored for more than 20 years abroad before being smuggled into the country.
“That is why we have cases of cancer, cases of kidney failure and all kinds of diseases that our people were not known for. So you are taking risk if you are selling foreign rice in the land of Ebonyi,” he added.
The governor said enough rice was being produced in Ebonyi and the state was looking for distributors.
He promised to open up modern markets in the 13 local government areas of the state and assured that the Kpirikpiri market when completed would compete with any other modern market in the country.
Meanwhile , the Special Adviser to the governor on Trade and Investment, Peter Obah, has ordered all foreign rice dealers in the state to evacuate the produce from the state within two weeks.
“Foreign rice should be evacuated or moved out of the state within two weeks. Once again, no sells, buying or consumption of foreign rice in Ebonyi State.
“This is to safeguard the lives of the people who now consume unhealthy substances packaged as foreign rice to Africa in recent times.
“Action would commence to impound all foreign rice seen in the state within two weeks of this statement.”