By Emeka Mamah
Kaduna â€” Several tonnes of poisonous rice from Asia, which were said to have been rejected by the Sierra Leonean government, have flooded markets in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi,Â Sokoto and other neighbouring states causing palpable fear within communities and government circles.
The Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service, monitored in Kaduna, yesterday, said that both Muslim and Christian clerics in Sokoto State have condemned the importation of the poisonous rice and appealed to their adherents to distance themselves from anything that could cause harm to them.
Also in Kaduna State, a senior Customs official, Sani Bunza, told newsmen that although they were not allowed to speak to the media without permission, they were aware of complaints from the public about the flooding of markets with the poisonous rice.
Furthermore, a NAFDAC official who preferred anonymity said that the rice with import number LL62 from Asia, should be avoided by members of the public because the commodity was not fit for human consumption.
Malam Sahabi Yahaya Kaura, narrating his experience to newsmen in Kaduna said, â€œIt is unfortunate that Nigerian businessmen, who are richer than their Sierra Leonean counterparts, would be so greedy and unpatriotic as to importÂ Â bad rice from that country.â€
He said that many unsuspecting customers who bought the rice had to return it to the traders in Sheikh Gumi market, Kaduna, because the commodity not only tasted very bad, but could not be easily cooked.
The affected state governments had commented on the development at the time of going to the press.