By Haruna Salami
A group, the National Ecosystem Advocates of Nigeria, NEAN has canvassed that sister agencies like Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Nigeria ImmigrationService, NIS and the Nigeria Police Force should work in synergy with the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), to enhance standard and compliance in the export of Agricultural products out of Nigeria.
NEAN deplores a situation where other government agencies work at cross purpose with NAQS’s activities or outrightly sabotaging it’s efforts.
A statement jointly signed by Comrade Ben Iguabor and Silas Modaccai, NEAN National Coordinator and Secretary respectively and made available to Newsdiary Online bemoaned a situation where NAQS activities are being sabotaged by other sister agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service or the Nigerian Police as most regrettable.
Specifically, the group emphasised that recent events in the activities and operation of the agency has revealed that if NAQS must continue to deliver on its statutory mandate and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy, steps must be taken to strengthen some bottlenecks that vitiate the operations of the agency.
“For us as a body, the National Ecosystem Advocates of Nigeria, NEAN, believes that key amongst these is the need to get all the sister agencies that work with NAQS to function more collaboratively and patriotically, putting the interest of nation first.
“For instance, NAQS as a leading agency in ensuring standards and compliance in the export of agricultural products out of the country, it is wrong that while the agency insists on full compliance by exporters, personnel of the customs would be sabotaging such efforts. If properly coordinated, Nigeria has very huge potential of raking in stupendous income through agricultural exports.
“Also on the need for inter agency cooperation, there is the imperative to get the full buy-in of the personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service to the operations of NAQS.
“For instance, while some foreigners are officially documented by the Nigerian Immigrant personnel for particular job descriptions, such foreigners often resort to activities different from which they are officially listed. Chinese nationals are mostly fingered as criminal culprits of this act”, the statement said.
The group alleged that there are several instances where many Chinese nationals come into Nigeria, get documented by the Nigeria Immigration Service as construction workers, only to turn into marauders of our bushes and forests the next day, engaging in criminal hunting and export of illegal crops and animals, including illegal plundering of our timbers with the active cooperation of some unpatriotic Nigerians.
Consequently, the statement added that there is need for routine monitoring of these foreigners to ensure that they do not violate their official status in the country, adding, “where such foreigners are reported to the Nigeria Immigration, the service must take steps to ensure that the affected foreigners are promptly deported back to the countries of their origin”.
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The Nigeria Agriculture and Quarantine Service (NAQS) is a regulatory agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It is tasked with the responsibility of the harmonization of Plants, Veterinary and Aquatic resources (fisheries).