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Minister counters NAFDAC over rice distributed in South-West

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MINISTER of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq has countered claims made by National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC) over the quality of rice distributed to some states in the South-West zone.

    Following complaints over the quality of rice released as part of federal government’s COVID-19 palliatives  to some states in South-West , Mrs Umar-Farouq while addressing the media during the PTF briefing on Monday, told them that NAFDAC and other relevant agencies certified the food items.

  Yesterday, during the PTF, it was disclosed that NAFDAC  had only began its test on the palliative rice after the batch for Oyo State had been distributed.

    According to the reports, NAFDAC had disclosed that it was not invited to test the rice distributed to Oyo State. The agency said it was only invited to take samples of rice from Idi-Iroko, Ikeja, and Ogun State.

   A report credited to NAFDAC Director-General. Prof.  Mojisola Adeyeye stated thus: “We got an invitation to sample rice from Idi-Ikoro from Ogun and Ikeja Customs. Our Staff went to Idi-Iroko and Ogun to sample rice and they also went to Ikeja to sample rice, some of the samples are still in our lab in Oshodi. We tested the sampls and they passed.

“The one for Oyo State, I cannot say anything because NAFDAC was not called by the Ibadan command  or the South-West command  of Customs to come and check samples in Ibadan. So, I cannot say anything about the Ibadan Command rice that went to Oyo and possibly to Osun State.”

  Meanwhile, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq had initially said that “the rice was handed over to us by the Nigerian Customs Service and it was assessed by NAFDAC who issued a clearance before the goods were released for onward distribution to the states.

“So, as far as we are concerned, the rice was certified fit for human consumption.”

   Reacting to the claims made by NAFDAC,  Mrs Umar-Farouq, yesterday at the daily briefing by the PTF on COVID-19 said her ministry got a certificate issued by NAFDAC.

“We will stand by what we said because this was what was conveyed to us by customs and we have a certificate to that effect.

“ The certificate indicated that the rice given  to us is fit for human consumption and that was before I even flagged-off the distribution in Lagos State. We will make that certificate available later today.”

  She however noted that agencies concerned will sort the communication gap and report back to PTF, adding that NAFDAC, Customs, and the ministry respect each other’s mandate while discharging their responsibilities.

    On the expansion of the National Social Register as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister stated that 3 million people are currently on register, adding that the ministry has projected reaching a target of 3.6million by the middle of May.

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