The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said that anyone eating frozen food is rather embalming self before death as the chemical (Formalin) used to embalm corpses are equally used to preserve these foods.
Lokpobiri was speaking yesterday at the headquarters of the Ministry in Abuja during a stakeholder’s Consultative meeting on Illegal Importation of Food items into Nigeria conference said: “If we stop importation of frozen foods and poultry items, we have succeeded in creating more than a million jobs. Unemployment is the highest problem we have, we will create jobs by stopping importation and smuggled items”.
The Minister revealed Federal Government’s plan to engage stakeholders meeting all over the country with a view to stop importation of staple food.
“We have decided to change our strategy and see how we can help ourselves; to engage stakeholders’ confrontation all over the country starting with Abuja, the Federal Capital territory.
“We did a market survey and discovered that there is a lot of difference in our locally produced rice and the imported from Thailand, India and other countries. These products stayed longer in their Silos and in the sea before getting to the final consumers which makes them more dangerous for consumption.
“It is better for us to eat what we produce than eating junks; anybody eating frozen food and imported rice is embalming self alive, we must show patriotism by eating Nigeria food and wear our cloths”, he said.
In his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr. Bukar Hassan said it is important for government at all levels to do everything possible to curtail the nefarious activities of smugglers considering its implications on the economy and health hazards it constitute to the populace.
“It is on this note that the Minister of state for Agriculture inaugurated a committee to proffer short, medium and long term solution on the illegal importation of food items into the country.
The committee, he said, has “initiated the process to counter the incidence of smuggling having in mind that the Ministry so much in stimulating production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities to meet the demand of the citizen”.
He calls on all stakeholders to work with the Ministry for the actualization of this noble objective, work out plans and strategy, possibly with regular meetings aiming at ensuring that this illegal activity is put to an end.
Tom Okpe, Abuja