Minister, NAFDAC Clash Over Rice Rejected By Oyo State Govt
The Oyo State Government’s rejection of 1,800 bags of rice from the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has pitched the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq, against the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC).
The Seyi Makinde administration had said that the rice was infested with weevils and unfit for human consumption.
But Farouq countered the claim, saying the rice was certified safe by NAFDAC.
“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,” she said.
Reacting to the minister’s claim, Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye stated that the agency never certified the rice fit for human consumption as claimed.
“We got an invitation to sample rice from Idi-Iroko from Ogun and Ikeja Customs. Our officials went to Idi-Iroko and Ogun to sample the rice and they also went to Ikeja to sample rice. Some of the samples are still in our laboratory in Oshodi. We tested the samples and they passed.
“The one for Oyo State, I cannot say anything because NAFDAC was not called by the Ibadan Command or the Southwest 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,” the NAFDAC DG stated.
In a counter-reaction at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Wednesday, Farouq insisted that NAFDAC certified the product safe.
She said, “We still stand by what we said because that 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 launched the distribution in Lagos State. We will make that certificate available later today.”
The minister attributed the misunderstanding to a communication gap, saying it would be ironed out among the concerned parties.
“Let me also remind us that NAFDAC, Customs and the ministry respect each other’s mandate while carrying out our responsibilities. So, Nigerian Customs Service and NAFDAC, I am sure will sort the communication gap and we will report back to this platform once that is done,” Farouq said.