Quarantine Service Targets Food Smugglers, Hoarders

In a bid to combat the activities of hoarders and smugglers dealing in food items and agricultural produce, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service announced on Monday its decision to bolster security by deploying more officers to oversee operations at the nation’s land and sea borders.

This decision by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service underscores its dedication to complementing the Federal Government’s endeavors in stabilizing food prices nationwide and safeguarding Nigeria’s food security.

‘To support the Federal Government’s efforts to stabilise food prices and ensure food security, the NAQS has initiated a nationwide crackdown on the smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities,’ the agency announced in a statement issued in Abuja.

It added, ‘The decisive action is part of the agency’s mandate to regulate the handling of agricultural products in Nigeria, ensuring they are safe for consumption and available at fair prices to the Nigerian populace.’

‘In line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration, we are fully committed to ensuring that Nigerians have more food on their table, by strengthening our borders and clamping down on the smuggling of hoarded agricultural commodities.’

The core mandate of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), as stipulated in its Establishment Act of 2017, is to safeguard the nation against the infiltration, establishment, and transmission of foreign pests and diseases impacting plant, animal, and aquatic resources, along with their associated products.

Moreover, the agency has the responsibility of advocating for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in relation to both the importation and exportation of agricultural commodities, in order to mitigate risks to agriculture, uphold food safety standards, and safeguard the environment.

The agency in its statement on Monday, noted that ‘Food security is a paramount concern for the Nigerian government, and we are committed to ensuring that agricultural commodities are not smuggled out of the country through our ports and land borders.’

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‘We believe that our efforts to clamp down on smuggling practices will not only help to stabilise food prices but also promote transparency and fairness in the agricultural supply chain.’

According to the announcement, the agency has increased the number of officers deployed to the borders to combat the issues of food smuggling and hoarding.

‘To combat the illegal smuggling and hoarding of agricultural commodities, NAQS is enhancing its surveillance and control measures at all entry and exit points.’

The agency’s officers are tirelessly operating at various borders and control points nationwide, conducting meticulous inspections and surveillance to prevent the exportation of agricultural commodities.

‘This initiative reflects a comprehensive approach to tackling some of the recent challenges facing the agricultural sector and aims to ensure food security and promote sustainable development.’

In a statement, Dr. Godwin Audu, the agency’s acting Comptroller-General, called on the public to report any suspicious activities related to the hoarding or smuggling of agricultural commodities.

Africa Today News, New York

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