The Federal Government of Nigeria has vowed to punish smugglers of harmful frozen fish through the country’s land borders. Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, Thursday, said the importers are saboteurs, who indulge in the act despite ban on the importation of foreign fish into the country.
“It has become necessary for the Federal Government through the FMARD to address the Nigerian public on the sale of smuggled unhealthy frozen fish, especially farmed tilapia, in Nigeria. These smuggled frozen fish are very harmful to the health of Nigerians.
“The ministry is using this medium to warn all those involved, colluding, aiding and abetting these nefarious activities to stop or face the full wrath of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Importation of fish without licence attracts five-year imprisonment or a fine of $250,000, or both, in addition to forfeiture and destruction of the vessel and its products”, he said.
Lokpobiri lamented that frozen fish imported by licensed operators were wallowing in various cold rooms across the country because smugglers had flooded the market with cheap but dangerous products.
The minister further said that the government had been collaborating with countries in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria Customs Service, maritime police, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Agriculture Quarantine Service to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
- Bola Kougbe