1,800 Bags Of Rice Condemned By Oyo State Were Certified Fit By NAFDAC –FG
The Federal Government has said the rice palliative distributed to Oyo and other South-Western states were inspected and certified fit for human consumption by the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC).
Oyo State had alleged over the weekend that the bags of rice were infested with weevils.
The state also said plans were in place to return the 1800 bags of rice.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja during the daily Presidential Task Force briefing, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq said the news that the rice the federal government distributed to the southwest was unfit, was “fake news”.
The minister also noted that she spoke with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi to ascertain the true position of the rice delivered and he confirmed the rice was in good condition.
Farouq said: “As you may recall, we mentioned here that we distributed the rice relief to the states. 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.”
“We had an issue in Oyo which was officially reported this morning but two or three days ago, we saw news flying around that all the rice that we took to the southwestern part of the country were bad and that Lagos had taken its delivery to the lagoon and other states have rejected theirs.
“I want to say very categorically that it is fake news. It is not true. This afternoon, I spoke with the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi and he assured me that the one he received in Ekiti and other states are in good condition.”
The minister, however, noted that the process of storage of grains might affects its coloration or make it damp.
“Let us be very clear on this issue of rice. We all know that even in our houses, if we keep foodstuffs in damp places especially grains of that nature, it is bound to have some colouration but it does not mean that it is not fit for human consumption.
“The states are very happy that the federal government has come to support them and it is going a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the targeted beneficiaries.”
On diversion of payment meant for N-Power enrollees to procure palliatives for COVID-19, she said: “I know that we all know that it is practically impossible for anybody, be it a minister or a chief executive in this country to divert funds that have been appropriated and that are in a particular budget line for another budget line for the single reasons that we are operating the TSA.
“It is not just possible. The news of the diversion is another fake news.”
She also said as part of measures to avoid diversion of palliatives and for it not to get into the wrong hands, the ministry was working with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to monitor the processes.
“We have a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place because the palliatives are handed over to states. It is a structure that we are following and it involves states and local government. We are not just handing over and leaving, we are coordinating and supervising the processes.
“The ministry has also engaged CSOs, NGOs, and women groups in the processes.
“Our intervention is targeted at the poor and vulnerable in the society including women that fall within the group and I don’t think the women groups will allow women to be marginalized. I am also a woman and I don’t think I will allow them to be marginalized.”