To investigate importation of ‘modified’ maize
From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Agricultural Production and Services as well as well as the Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the export of rotten yams to the United States of America (USA).
The Committees were directed to invite the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, to explain why the law prohibiting the exportation of yam tubers was flagrantly disregarded, even as the yams were rejected upon delivery, due to several of them going bad.
Also to be invited are the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo, the Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma and Head of the Nigerian Quarantine Service.
The mandate of the House was sequel to the adoption of a motion entitled: “Need to Determine Why Food Products Prohibited from Exportation are Exported and also do not Meet International Standards”, sponsored by Gaza Jonathan Ghefwi.
The federal government had, in June, exported a large consignment of yams to Europe and America, seeking to improve revenue from non-oil export.
But leading the debate on the motion, Ghefwi described as unsatisfactory, the minister’s explanation on Tuesday, that the yams went bad due to the long distance between Nigeria and the US.
He wondered why the current administration chose to break the law by overlooking the fact that, the schedule of the Export (Prohibition) Act, Cap. E22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 lists Beans, Cassava tuber, Maize, Rice, Yam tuber and their product derivatives as goods absolutely prohibited from exportation from Nigeria.
The lawmaker insisted that it would have been better the federal government followed due process by waiting for the bill seeking to repeal the provisions of the Export Prohibition Act, to be passed by the National Assembly, rather than flout an existing law.