Do you agree with Customs CG that Nigerians should stop eating imported rice because they are poisonous?

 Oladipo Bolade Lawrence (Customs Broker)

Well, to some extent I agree with the Comptroller General of Customs. Sometimes in year 2017, I was privileged to attend a customs summit in Seme at Nigerian embassy, it was established that most of the rice imported into Nigeria are already contaminated before getting to Nigeria. We even saw a very big warehouse where the rice is being washed and put in new bags before being exported to Nigeria. I think as a country, we should learn how to do with our own local rice. 

Ossai Uwaka (Founder, Uwacare foundation)

The question we should ask ourselves is; what is the quantity and quality of the local manufactured rice in Nigeria?

Although most Nigerians say they prefer local rice because of the taste and its nutritional value and less shelf life, some others will tell you that the imported rice takes longer period to come into the country which must have affected its nutritional value.

Nigerians seem to have now realized that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

The real issue is the price of the locally produced rice; can majority of Nigerians afford locally produced rice? Has the government so far done enough to support local farmers to increase production to meet the demand of the Nigerian people?

Unless all these are adequately examined and measures put in place to tackle these challenges, people will rather prefer the imported rice. 

Ojo Akintoye (Customs Broker)

Personally, I do not agree with the Comptroller General of Customs on this statement that imported rice is poisonous, not at all.The CGC should visit all his Deputy Comptroller General’s and Area Comptrollers houses if they are eating Nigerian rice. 

Jonathan Owoh (Shipper)

If the Customs boss meant his words that imported foreign rice is poisonous, then why did the customs authorities give the same rice to the IDPs? It's laughable. 

Olorogun Andrew Ugwi (Clearing Agent)

No sane person will stop importation of any item when we don't have enough of local production. Sometimes, our leaders are deceptive and diversionary; Nigeria has its main problem as lack of serious minded leaders. If they are serious, they should flood the market with local rice at cheap price and nobody will tell foreign importers to stop importing rice. It will on its own vanish from the market.  

Stanley Ezenga (NAGAFF)

I think what the CGC said was in error, because most of those bags of rice are given to IDP camps, so if he says that they are poisonous, that means he is indirectly poisoning the people in the IDP camps. But be it as it may, it is not poisonous, of cause we need to encourage local manufacturers of rice, but then, we don’t need to say that the rice imported are poisonous. I don’t agree with him that those bags of rice are poisonous.

Muda Yusuf (DG, LCCI)

Government should encourage people who are producing rice to produce more, they should build capacity on those who are producing rice, so that we can have more domestic capacity to produce because the capacity now is very low, and because the capacity is low, that is why there is an increase in importation of rice. On whether the rice is poisonous, I am not in the position to confirm that. Customs have said that the rice are not even supposed to be imported, so they should do whatever they can to ensure that the laws on the restriction are properly enforced. But more importantly is to increase the domestic capacity to produce.

Abiola Suleiman (Clearing agent)

You need to understand that the CGC is not a professional customs officer, secondly he has never been in the corridor of this industry for once, and thirdly, he is not a business man. So, let us put all these three factors together, you will see that what the man said has no base, he is only trying to satisfy his boss for the negative policy they are trying to introduce with the ban on rice importation. If the rice is poisonous, before this administration, we have been importing rice into this country, how many people have been reported dead because they consumed imported rice? The rice importation from other countries are all good and standard products, they only want to pave way for local production of rice which has not yet properly circulated in this country. The local rice they are clamoring for, you can’t find it anywhere, something that is not accessible to the masses.

Frank Ukor (BOT Chair, AREFFN)

Customs want us to stop eating imported rice but they send imported rice to IDPs, it is a question I am asking them, so they want all the people in IDP to die? They want to protect local rice by telling us not to eat imported rice, but they send the same to IDP, so the IDPs are not important but we are important. To my own opinion, those things are not relevant; they just want to play politics. Imported rice is good to us, if it is good for IDPs.