Following the recent position taken by the stakeholders at a workshop held recently at Abuja by the European Union Mission in Nigeria at the instance of the Netherlands, that the ban on the exportation of the Nigerian grown dried beans to the European Union Countries was more political than scientific, a maritime stakeholder, Mr. Uchechukwu Aniezechukwu has faulted that position saying that the ban has nothing to do with politics.
Aniezechukwu who was speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos last week was reacting to the recent return of containers of beans of Nigerian grown beans exported to the Ireland back to Nigeria adding that he would not fall for the argument.
He noted that the fact Nigeria did not do what it was suppose to do in terms of following the internationally accepted procedure in packaging the beans for export was responsible for the return of those container loads of beans back to Nigeria from Ireland.
“Honestly, I will not fall for that argument. I have a duty to put my acts right and put my house in order and let my neighbor do whatever he can. I will not allow myself to be maligned by my neighbor for the simple reason that I did not put my acts very well.
“You know what happened, some containers of beans were exported out of this country and when it got to Ireland, they found out that apart from the fact that they didn’t follow the normal procedure, it was not cleared by the Nigerian Quarantine Service. That in itself brought shame to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the customs authority and you and I as Nigerians at the ports.
“We can only make noise but the truth of the matter is that we did not go through the normal procedures. That beans that were returned, were they cleared by our health authorities? Were there certificates to that effect? If we have certificates and if truly they went through these procedures, then we can stand up before whoever is making case with us and provide the necessary evidence”, he said.
He recalled that it was the Nigerian media who were reporting the state of the said beans on return to the country which claimed that some of the beans were already rotten saying that instead of exonerating itself, Nigerian government should put a stop to the shame this act was bringing to the nation.
“If you look at the policy thrust of this government, you will agree with me that it is tilting towards exportation which people like me ordinarily support for the simple reason that there is no country that worth its onion that can grow in the comity of nations being an import dependent economy. Japan tried it and that was when they got their acts right, China is the fastest growing economy in the world and that started when they started getting their acts right. India of yesterday, all of them are doing tremendously well, why? For the sole reason that they looked inwards.
“If we should look inwards as people like us have been advocating that we do, we should be able to put up checks and balances that will convey a message to the international community that we are serious with what we are doing and that we are in tune with international standards and safety requirements for moving goods out of our shores”, he added.
On who to be blamed for the return of the said containers of beans, he stated that both the stakeholders, the officials of the Nigeria Customs Service as well as the various government agencies at the ports were culpable adding that if all concerned had played their roles effectively and efficiently, this experiences wouldn’t have occurred.
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