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Group decry sabotage, advocates collaboration with NAQS

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Given its strategic importance at ensuring standards in export of agricultural products to other countries, a group operating under the aegis of National Ecosystem Advocates of Nigeria (NEAN) has called on other sister agencies of government to collaborate with the Nageria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

In a statement sent to CAPITAL POST on Friday by the group’s National Coordinator and Secretary, Ben Iguabor and Silas Modaccai respectively, the group decried sabotage by operatives of the Nigerian Custom Service and the Police, saying, it posed serious inhibitions on the mandate of NAQS.

According to the statement, Nigeria shouldn’t lag behind in foreign earnings through exportation of agricultural products due to personal interest of certain elements in other sister agencies of government.

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The statement said: “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 before self.

“A situation where the agency’s activities are being sabotaged by another sister agency like the Nigerian Customs Service or the Nigerian Police is most regrettable.

“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 at the backend sabotaging such efforts.

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“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 the most criminal culprits of this act.

“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.

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“There is need for routine monitoring of these foreigners to ensure that they do not violate their official status in the country.

“And 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.

“On the part of the National Assembly, there is the primacy of the review of the current NAQS act, 2017, with a view to identifying and strengthening the law to ensure that the main objectives of the legislation is fully attained.”

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