Following the warning by the federal government (FG) to Nigerians against smugglers who are finding their ways through land borders into Nigeria with harmful frozen fish, the FG needs to take as much dose of its words just like the public.
The issue of smugglers as far as Nigeria’s land borders are concerned has been a lingering problem in the country and it is gradually becoming ungovernable.
Yesterday, March 9th, 2017, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, alerted Nigerians about the effort by smugglers to flood harmful frozen fish into the country.
“It has become necessary for the Federal Government through the FMARD to address the Nigerian public on the sale of smuggled unhealthy frozen fish, especially farmed tilapia, in Nigeria. These smuggled frozen fish are very harmful to the health of Nigerians.
“The ministry is using this medium to warn all those involved, colluding, aiding and abetting these nefarious activities to stop or face the full wrath of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Importation of fish without licence attracts five-year imprisonment or a fine of $250,000, or both, in addition to forfeiture and destruction of the vessel and its products.”
Why it is not out of place for the FG to alert Nigerians on the danger ahead, it is very pertinent for it to also ensure that such an intention by such unscrupulous smugglers does not see the light of the day.
The first question that is likely to come to the mind of every Nigerian on the knowledge of this new development is, what has the government done on its part even before making it public to prevent the smugglers?
What are the various security agencies at such borders doing to make sure that importation of foreign goods especially foods are safe and healthy for Nigerians to consume?
Is President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet trying to let Nigerians know that this administration is not capable of governing them?
Just a year ago, the federal government had urged the country’s Senate to place a ban on the importation of frozen foods into the country in order to encourage internal agricultural production and ensure the well being of all Nigerians.
“Policies like importation of poultry products should be“enforced. Imagine what will happen if government decides to put a ban on all supermarkets or eateries that patronize imported poultry products, imagine the boom for local farmers. It will create enough local content for local farmers. People will want to do business because they have an already market for it,” Vangurad reported.
Then a year later, Nigeria is still battling with smugglers and issues associated with frozen foods.
Again, one may want to ask, why didn’t the Senate provide an alternative towards ensuring the safety of such imported foods to Nigerians as well as other ways of boosting the country’s poultry farming before rejecting such as proposal in 2016?
Is it safe to say that Nigerian leaders are quick to taking decision without looking at the long term effect of such decision?
Yes, Nigerians should be more careful than ever as they consume frozen fish as far as the new development is concerned, but the bulk of salvaging the situation definitely lies with the FG.
May be Nigerians may not have a cause to worry if the FG had done the needful in the first place.
As this of course is a matter of life and death, the security personnel at such borders need to see beyond bribes to realizing that the safety of Nigerians depend on how much they can forgo bribery and corruption to doing that which they swore to do; protect Nigerians against Nigerians and Nigerians against external attackers.
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