NAQS Commences Clampdown On Food Smugglers, Hoarders

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), on Monday, joined in clamping down on hoarders and smugglers of food items and other agricultural produce, as it announced the deployment of more officers to Nigeria’s land and sea borders.

It said the move was to support the Federal Government’s efforts to stabilise food prices nationwide and ensure food security in Nigeria.

The agency in a statement issued in Abuja, said, “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”.

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.”

NAQS, according to its Establishment Act 2017, was established to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of foreign pests and diseases of plant, animal and aquatic resources and products into the country.

The agency is to also promote sanitary and phytosanitary measures as it relates to the import and export of agricultural products, to minimise the risk to agriculture, food safety and 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.

“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.”

It stated that more officers of the agency had been deployed to the borders to tackle the menace 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.

“Officers of the agency are working tirelessly across the country’s borders and control posts, conducting rigorous inspections, and monitoring to ensure no agro commodity is exported.

“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.”

The agency’s acting Comptroller-General, Dr Godwin Audu, urged the public to report any suspicious activities related to the hoarding or smuggling of agricultural commodities.

He said community participation and collaboration were vital for the success of this campaign.

The Federal Government has intensified efforts to stop the hoarding and smuggling of food outside Nigeria following the recent astronomical hike in the cost of food items nationwide.


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