Five-year jail term awaits fish smugglers, says Nigerian government
The Federal Government of Nigerian has drown the attention of Nigerians to the harmful illegally imported seafood in circulation in the nation’s markets and have vowed to enforce the five years imprisonment and or $250,000 fine policy against offenders.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri disclosed this to newsmen at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
“It has become necessary for the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to address the Nigerian public on the sale of smuggled unhealthy frozen fish especially farmed Tilapia in Nigeria,” he said.
Lokpobiri said in no distance time, the ministry will commence the raid of cold rooms across the country to arrest, detain and prosecute perpetrators in line with the law.
“In the next few weeks, we will ensure that we go round most of the call rooms and fish out those who brought in these smuggled fish and ensure they pay the $250,000.
“The FMARD has put in place measures to arrest, detain and prosecute offenders as provided in the Sea fisheries Act Cap S4 laws of the Federation 2004. Such persons would be dealt with as criminals and economic saboteurs.”
He called on those involved and those facilitating the wicked act to desist forthwith or face the full wrath of the law.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is using this medium to warn all those involved. All those colluding, aiding and abetting
in this nefarious activity to stop forthwith Or face the full wrath of the law.”
Lokpobiri highlighted some of the dangers the smuggled product could poses to the lives and economy of Nigeria citing the products harmful effect on under five children.
“If you visit any of the hospital around you will see children under the ages of 5 to 7 taking dialysis. is as result of the fact they are consuming a lot of frozen fish and chicken.”
The former senator to Nigerians that the Federal Department of fisheries does not issue license for importation of fish through the land borders. He also stated the penalty that offenders could face when caught.
“Importation of frozen fish without license attracts five years imprisonment or a fine of $250,00 or but in addition to forfeiture and destruction of the vessels and its products.”
Some of the smuggled product include Talipia, Red Pacus, River Bream, Pangassius, and Horse Mackerel.