Customs Refutes Oyo Govt. Claim over Bad Rice

Nigeria Customs Service Oyo-Osun Command has denied the story that is circulating concerning the Federal government’s palliative given to Oyo state among other states.

This is contained in a statement in Ibadan by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Abdullahi Lagos.

Mr Lagos noted that in line with the Federal government’s effort to cushion the hardship of the ravaging covid-19 on the people, the command’s headquarters had directed the distribution of relief items, including bags of rice across the nation as palliative.

He explained that on the 20th of this month, the command received members of Oyo state government in the persons of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Jacob Ojekunle, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Saidat Bolatumi- Oloko, Executive Adviser to the governor on Agribusiness, Mr Debo Akande, representative of Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management and Social Development in Oyo, Mrs M.O Lasisi, and other members to inspect the available rice for allocations.

The PRO explained that the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Uche Ngozi, led them to the warehouses where they inspected the bags of rice, checked expiration dates and expressed satisfaction and readiness to evacuate their allocation. 

He stated further that the team later asked to be given those from a section of one of the warehouses they considered “fresher” and this was also granted.

Me Lagos noted that in the process of loading the 1800 bags of the rice, few bags fell at different times and burst open in the presence of Mr Ojekunle and Mrs Lasisi while the rice had no weevils in them. 

He emphasized that the command was therefore surprised, to hear that three days after the bags of rice allocated to them were infested with weevils and unfit for human consumption.

The command’s spokesperson maintained that weevils do not hide and in the process of loading the vehicles, their traces would have been noticed on the floor, on the bags, on the loaders or on the trucks bearing in mind that the entire process was in the presence of Oyo state government’s team and journalists with video camera coverage.

He explained that contrary to allegations by Oyo state government, Osun and Ekiti states have not complained about their allocations.

The command dissociated itself from the pictures of bad rice circulating on social media and suspected foul play on the part of the handlers of the allocated bags of rice. 

The PRO, added that the state government should dig deeper as it was still

Surprising how bags of rice that exited the command in good condition suddenly became so bad after 3 days, as being circulated in the social media.

Ridwan Fasasi

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