FG charges Customs to end smuggling of frozen chickens

The Federal Government has charged the authorities of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to step up surveillance around Nigeria’s borders to end smuggling of hazardous food items including frozen chickens unsuitable for human consumption.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri gave the charge yesterday while fielding questions from the State House Correspondents after the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo met with a delegation of Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Also at the meeting were Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali and Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele. Lokpobiri said that the government had also stepped in to address some of the challenges besetting the poultry industry in the country.

“In the short term, the Federal Government has intervened to have maize available for the poultry industry.

“This and other issues of smuggling, are part of the reasons we have a lot of people down with certain diseases we don’t know; the health hazard due to consumption of frozen chicken. Most times they used what they use to preserve dead bodies and it causes harm to the kidney.

“Customs too was in the meeting and was charged on how to improve their surveillance programme so that we stop that. We discussed other issues about agricultural equipment, which people will benefit from the policy of zero duties and essentially to see how we can intervene in the poultry industry with membership of over 15 million people.

“I can proudly say it is the most organised and because we have a huge market, we have a duty to intervene.” On compensation for poultry farmers because of the destruction of their farms by the Federal Government due to avian flu, the minister said although part of the money was paid as compensation, about N1.7 billion was still outstanding.

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