Poisonous Rice Saga: Maritime Editors Demand Sack Of Customs Boss

 LAGOS APRIL 29TH (NEWSRANGERS) The League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LMEP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS),  Rtd Col. Hammed Ali for donating  920,000 bags of  contaminated rice to the states in the South West as part of the palliatives over the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

The League of Maritime Editors noted  that the distribution of the palliatives was done in total disregard to human health and described the action of the Nigeria Customs service as an embarrassment to the nation.

Besides, the Editors which described the action of the Customs boss as a betrayal  of trust, negligence  and attempted  murder by   giving out contaminated  and expired rice that are dangerous  for human consumption as palliatives  to the people equally called for the dismissal of the Customs Controllers of   Oyo,  Osun,  Ondo,  Lagos and Ogun Commands  who distributed   the grains to  different states.

In a state of the nation statement signed  by the President of League of Maritime Editors and Publishers,  Mr Kingsley Anaroke and Secretary General, Mr Francis Ugwoke,  the group stated that Ali and his Customs Controllers  treated with total disregard,  the health implications   of the grains to the people of the states even when they were fully aware   that the food items were poisonous.

The group recalled that Ali had himself described the grains as poisonous and had warned Nigerians from consuming them on several occasions.

According to the group, some of the  grains came to the country years back  and were seized by the Customs who later described them as contaminated.

The group recalled  a statement credited to the Customs boss when he  addressed newsmen, where   he  was advising Nigerians against eating foreign seized rice on the argument that they are poisonous having spent a minimum of five years in the  silo before arriving the country.

Ali had earlier told newsmen, “A chemical must have been added to sustain its freshness and that chemical is harmful. Also, it has been re-bagged with a new date given as the production and expiry date and that is what we consume here which causes diseases”.  

Ali’s leadership, the Editors recalled had to donate the same rice which the Customs boss tagged poisonous rice to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)  in the North  but were later withdrawn,  consequently, the group noted that this was unbecoming of a highly placed public officer who claims to be in the forefront  of the war against corruption.

It would be recalled that the Customs claimed that the grains were tested before they were given out,   but the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers described  this as simply a volte face, fallacy and demanded evidence of such test  from  the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Part of the  statement reads, “We demand the sack of  Customs  CG and the  Controllers of the Oyo,  Osun,  Ondo,  Lagos and Ogun Commands  for betrayal  of trust, negligence  and attempted  murder for Willy nilly  giving out contaminated  and expired rice that are dangerous  for human consumption as palliatives  to the people. Never mind  that the five states,  Lagos,  Osun , Ekiti Ondo and Ogun  have given conflicting  reports  on the rice,  the truth of the matter is that they don’t  want to speak up because  of political  reasons  and patronage. If the CG has said severally that foreign rice is not fit for human consumption,  why must it then be distributed  as palliatives,  is custom  not aware how long the rice must have stayed in their warehouses and what due diligence  did it carry out on the rice before releasing  them to the States?  Were they inspected and tested by NAFDAC?”

Furthermore, the group asked ” When did this foreign rice become okay for human consumption? Why can’t Ali’s Customs give Nigerians Nigerian rice instead of foreign rice which he knows are poisonous. Can’t the Customs afford this?

Accordingly, the Editors said, Nigerians should ask   the CG where he got his information first on the poisonous rice. Was it after it was distributed to IDPs which probably led to the stoppage. If so why sending  them to the West as COVID 19 palliatives, which could be seen as ethnic sabotage. There are other pockets of unhealthy practices by Customs officers manning checkpoints where they use their own money to purchase cheap expired rice across the borders which they present to their superiors at their commands as seizures in order to retain their “lucrative” positions”.

Meanwhile, the  group also disclosed  that sources  hinted  of  another plot to donate 10 bad containers of tomato  paste in Onne Customs  as palliatives to the federal government, adding that the  NCDC has a report on that. 

The  group however particularly commended the Oyo State government for speaking out on the state of the grains  and not dancing to political tunes by giving what  was not good for human consumption to the people of the state.

Beyond being sacked, the group equally demanded that the Customs Service must render an unreserved  apology to Nigerians  for their ‘show of shame’ and  for toying with  the life of Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the group said it might   be considering legal action if the Customs Comptroller General is not shown the way out for  such atrocities against  the people of  South West.

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Posted by on Apr 29 2020. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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