THE Oyo State Government has rejected and returned a total of 1,800 bags of pest-infested rice back to the Federal Government, The ICIR can confirm.
Dr. Debo Akande, Executive Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Agribusiness, disclosed this in Ibadan, the state capital after the state committee on distribution of relief materials and palliatives inspected the warehouse were the grains were kept.
Akande said the committee found out that the rice was unhealthy for human consumption.
“The state government discovered that the grains of rice were infested by weevil and other pests, and took the decision in the interest of residents of the state,” he said.
“We initially assumed that it was just some part of it that was infested but some commissioners from five or six ministries came with me to inspect and we realised that it is not just some but quite a lot of them were infested.”
Akande however said the return of the 1,800 bags would not affect the state’s distribution of palliatives, noting that the state has purchased enough rice for distribution to the citizens.
“And it was in the process of further inspection, that we discovered that almost all the grains of rice has been infested by weevil and other pests,” he said.
“On that basis, we formed a committee to inspect it again so that we are really sure of what we have received and we think this rice is not consumable for human being.
“As such, such material cannot be distributed as part of palliatives in the state. We don’t want to start providing solution to a problem and then create another problem. We have done random selection we see that similar thing applies across board and the committee has agreed to return to its source. And if there is any replacement of good quality that will be sent to us, we will be glad to receive it.”
On Monday, the Federal Government had donated the 1,800 bags of rice to Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states.
Helen Ngozi, Area Controller of Oyo and Osun Command, of the Nigeria Customs Service, handed over the 1,800 bags of rice each to the governments of the three states, while she handed over 600 bags to Ondo State Government.
She said the command received the items from “the Federal Government via the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and we brought them here to the warehouse.
Earlier, Bashir Ahmad, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital Media, tweeted that the president has directed the Nigeria Customs Service to release 150 truckloads of rice seized from smugglers for immediate distribution across the country as part of the Federal Government’s palliative measures to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.