The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Agricultural Production and services as well as the Committee on Customs and Exports, to investigate the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh for flouting Government law against yam export and also delivering rotten yams to the United States.
It also invited the Comptroller -General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd), the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Segun Awolowo, the Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma and Head of the Nigerian Quarantine Service.
The Federal Government, had in June, exported a large consignment of Yams to Europe and America, which was rejected because they had gone bad.
The House’s mandate to quiz them, was sequel to a motion entitled: “Need to Determine Why Food Products Prohibited From Exportation is Exported and also do not meet the International Standards, sponsored by Gaza Jonathan Ghefwi
Audu Ogbeh, had claimed that the long distance between Nigeria and the United States, was a major factor to the damage of the yams and he had embarked on the export in order to increase the revenue of the country.
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.
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 disregarding the law.