The Federal Government on Wednesday expressed concern over smuggling activities on the Nigeria-Benin Republic land border, through which tonnes of rice are flooding Nigerian markets.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Heineken Lokpobiri, raised the concern at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Abuja.
Lokpobiri said federal government had uncovered more than one million tonnes of rice waiting to be smuggled into Nigeria through the border from Cotonou.
He said smuggling activities, particularly relating to rice, poultry products and fish were becoming alarming.
“We all know the dangers of the consumption of these frozen products, the consumption of this imported rice and fish.
“There are strange diseases now surfacing in Nigeria and the reason is that instead of us to patronising our local products, we rather use foreign ones,’’ he said.
The minister said the ministry had introduced quality control measure to regulate fish import with a view to reducing the huge gap in demand and supply of the product.
“We know that criminal activities are going on the land border, particularly through the Benin Republic where people bring in frozen fish and poultry products that are not healthy for human consumption.
“These smuggled frozen products contain chemical being used to preserve dead bodies,’’ he said.
Lokpobiri said the federal government had the duty to ensure that the citizenry only eats healthy foods.
He said the essence of the meeting was to work together with the agriculture stakeholders and dealers of different food items to ensure food security in Nigeria.