How the incompetence of the Nigerian Customs Service is affecting citizens

With the festive period fast approaching, the National Orientation Agency has declared plans to sensitize the general public about the recently exhumed poultry produce seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) at the Badagry borders which has somehow found its way into the Nigerian markets.

“The contaminated poultry produce was exhumed by unscrupulous individuals who now sell to unsuspecting customers and could lead to death if consumed,” said the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Toyin Suarau.

This was caused by the negligence and corrupt practices of the Nigerian Customs officials. A few days ago it was also announced that substandard rice was brought into the country through the borders. This announcement comes as a threat to the health of Nigerians as they prepare to celebrate during the upcoming the festive period.

According to Dr. Okhiomah, a nutritional enzymologist, “imported processed chicken and turkey are preserved with a high level of formalin which is dangerous to humans if consumed in large quantities. They also contain toxic and heavy metals that could worsen the occurrence of food-borne diseases.

It is no longer news that Nigeria has become the dumping ground for substandard goods transported through its borders. The easy movement of people across borders, especially by foot, has been a significant challenge to customs officials in differentiating migrants from tourists or traders. Despite the presence of this authority at the borders, their method of inspection on goods been imported is below par as some of them resort to collecting bribes.

The government has been blamed for the importation of these substandard products since it has failed to meet the nation’s demand for food, annually, as a result of inadequate local production. High import tariffs and the lack of cohesive policies to address these woes has also contributed to the problem. Smugglers take advantage of the zero-duty regime tariff administered in Benin and Cameroon compared to the 110 percent tariff in Nigeria.

Despite the policies of the past administration to improve the welfare of Nigerians, over 100 million people still live below poverty line. This can be attributed to why citizens would engage in the importation and sale of bad quality food.

The availability of frozen foods in virtually all Nigerian markets shows that the Nigerian Customs Service needs to do more to eliminate this problem. They need to set up cohesive tactics to curb the activities of smugglers, maintain transparency, punish corrupt officials, burn up seized products to prevent any introduction of such goods into the Nigerian market.

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