NAQS will not be too visible at airports, says agric minister
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) will, henceforth, no longer be too visible at the nation’s airports.
The minister said this in Abuja on Monday while addressing newsmen in reaction to the recent disagreement between the NAQS and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
He said that meetings were underway to address the conflict between the two Federal Government-owned agencies.
He said that a meeting was also held with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, with a view to bringing the two agencies to work together.
Ogbeh said that the Federal Government was trying to reduce the number of its officials at the airport terminals.
“The role of NAQS is very important in safeguarding the movement of agricultural products in and out of the country.
“We had a meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, few days ago. NAQS will not be too visible in the airports because scanners are being installed where NAQS officials will be trained.
“Once anything is traced to be food item that is trying to be exported at the airports, the NAQS officials will be invited to take a look at it.
“The NAQS officials will ascertain whether the items have export certification.
“In other countries, once a scanner reports that you are carrying food item, the airport officials will turn you off.
“They would ask where you are taking the food to and whether you have certification for the export.
“We will have problems with things coming into the country if NAQS is taken out of the airports completely.
“Right now, there is a virus affecting banana in Ogun State; the virus entered from the Republic of Benin.
“We have to shut down the transfer of all bananas from Ogun because if it moves elsewhere, it will destroy the plantain business in the country,” Ogbeh said.