OYO State government is contemplating sending 1,800 bags of rice it received from the federal government back to Abuja after tests revealed that they were contaminated and unfit for human consumption.
As part of efforts to ameliorate the effects of the economic shutdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has been disbursing food packages to the 36 states of Nigeria. These have generally been made up of staple foods like gari, yam, noodles, rice, cooking oil, bread, etc, which are then shared out to the populace.
According to Dr Debo Akande, the executive adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde, the committees set up to re-examine the rice delivered to Oyo State warned that it is not consumable. He said the state has received a large number of other items that were fine and which will be distributed over the next couple of days.
On Monday April 20, Helen Ngozi, the area controller of the Oyo and Osun State Customs command, delivered 1,800 bags of rice to the Oyo State government on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service. At the time, she added that all the 1,800 bags of rice were good for consumption, saying customs would never mix expired rice with good ones.
However, Dr Akande said: “We received these items from the federal government via the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and we brought them to the warehouse. It is in the process of further inspection that we discovered that almost all the rice has been infested with weevils and some other materials and on that basis we formed a committee to re-inspect it again, so we can be definitely sure of what we have received.
“We don’t want to start providing a solution to a problem and then start creating another problem. We have inspected it and done a random selection and we have seen that similar things apply across board.
“We are following suit the instructions of the committee and you will find that almost all the commissioners in the committee are in agreement. We have agreed to return all these back to the source and if there is any replacement of good quality that could be sent to us, we will be glad enough to receive it.”
Dr Akande added that the state government received other food items from the Food Security Committee of the Task Force, which were fine. he pointed out that they have added these goods to the support that has been donated by the good citizens of the state and they will all shortly be distributed.