By Philomina Attah
Abuja – The House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions wants a new policy to address conflicts between Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) at the airports.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Linus Okorie, told newsmen in Abuja on Friday that whatever fell within the mandate of the NAQS should pass through the airports’ cargo terminals for clearing.
He said that recent Federal Government policy streamlining the activities of its agencies at the airports to reduce the time spent on clearing goods had been problematic for some agencies in efforts to discharge their mandate.
He noted that the policy did not go down well with NAQS whose mandate was to ensure that all agricultural produce coming into or leaving the country must be certified disease-free.
“If FAAN is saying NAQS should not be at the departure and arrival terminals of airports but at cargo points; then the cargo point should be a place for processing goods and not the airport.
“We must put another policy in place to ensure that whatever falls within the mandate of NAQS and comes into the departure halls of airports with no proper certification will be automatically rejected.
“They have to get all Nigerians to know that if you must export any agricultural produce out of Nigeria, you must first of all pass through the cargo terminal, where NAQS officials are stationed, to obtain clearance certificate.
“If not, even at the point of screening by the machine, any product without NAQS certification should not to be cleared.
“Nigerians has the right to know the right information in order to avoid unnecessary delay and harassment. FAAN should involve the citizens because they have the right to such information,’’ he said.
Okorie, however, commended the Federal Government’s initiative on yam exports to UK and the U.S., saying this would boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.