The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) says “it is standard practice for a national agricultural quarantine authority to subject agricultural commodities being conveyed from one part of the country to another to inspection and to quarantine items that show any clinical signs of disease, infection or pest infestation.’’
The Head of Media, Communication and Strategies, Dr. Chigozie Nwodo, stated that there is no “scintilla of truth” in the allegation that its officers extort money from foodstuff dealers at certain quarantine posts across the country.
Dr Nwodo said the recent accusation by the Foodstuff Dealers Association of Nigeria (FSDAN), which described the quarantine posts along some highways as ‘extortion points’ was inappropriate, adding that the law empowered them to do so.
He stated that “as the single point of command for all agricultural quarantine activities in Nigeria, NAQS has a duty and responsibility to control and prevent the introduction, spread, and establishment of diseases and pests of animal, plant and aquatic resources.”
He pointed out that NAQS erected the inter-state control post at Katsina-Ala because the location fell within high traffic animal trade routes. He also mentioned that the post at Orokam was established because it was the gateway to the South-East.
Dr. Nwodo said the NAQS officers at the quarantine posts collect only user fees, the service charge payable for the inspection and certification of agricultural products as provided for in the NAQS (Establishment) Act.
The user fees on agricultural commodities were agreed upon and approved by stakeholders involved in the IGP Implementation Committee on “Curtailment of Cattle Rustling in Nigeria and on Multiple Taxation.”