The Nigeria Customs Service (NIS) has denied Oyo State Government the opportunity to return the 1,800 bags of rice the state claimed were not fit for human consumption.
DAILY POST gathered that both Oyo State Government and the Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Osun command have been trading blames since last Friday, over the genuineness of the 1,800 bags of rice supplied to the state government by the Customs Service as parts of the federal government’s palliative to the state.
Our correspondent recalls that the command had penultimate Tuesday supplied the bags of rice to the state as part of efforts to cushion the effects of Coronavirus on the people of the state.
Other states; Osun and Ekiti also received 1,800 bags each, while Ondo received 600 bags of rice from the command.
However, three days after taking delivery of the rice, Oyo State government through the Special Adviser to the state Governor, Debo Akande said that the rice was not healthy for human consumption.
But, the command on Sunday said the bags of rice that exited its Command headquarters were in good condition.
Public Relations Officer of Oyo/Osun Command, Abdullahi Lagos in a statement made available to DAILY POST insisted that the command was embarrassed to hear three days later that the rice allocated to Oyo state were infected with weevils and unfit for human consumption.
The Oyo State government, however, on Wednesday took a step to return the rice but the Customs officers shut the doors of the command on the officials and refused to accept the alleged bad bags of rice from the state.
Trucks loaded with the ‘expired’ rice were sent to the Zonal Headquarters of the Nigerian Customs in Ibadan but the Customs officers refused to open its doors on the officials led by Commissioner for Agriculture, Ojemuyiwa Ojekunle.
Ojekunle who confirmed the refusal of the command to collect back the rice told DAILY POST on Thursday that the state government wrote two separate letters to the agency to intimate the agency of plans to return the unhealthy rice but was surprised men of the NCS barred officials of from returning the palliative.
Ojekunle in a telephone conversation with DAILY POST said, “They did not open the doors for us to enter. They said that they had not received orders to collect back the rice.
“We wrote a letter to them on 24th April that we want to return the rice. We wrote another letter Wednesday morning before we loaded the rice that we wanted to return. They shut the doors. They told us that they have not received orders to collect back the rice. They did not allow us to enter”.
However, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/ Osun Command, Abdullahi Lagos while reacting, noted that the command did not have orders from its headquarters to accept the truckload of spoiled rice.
Lagos in a telephone conversation with DAILY POST insisted that there is a procedure for the return of the rice which has not been perfected.
“When they came, we politely told them that there is a procedure from the headquarters. There is a process. There should be a process, we were very polite.
“In the letter, they wrote on 24th April, they only copied us, in that kind of letter they did not expect us to act. The letter they wrote is unprofessional. We politely told them that they should go back because we have not been told to collect the rice back”.