The Consumers Protection Council (CPC) has uncovered a depot where substandard and poisonous rice are being bagged in Akwa Ibom state, and sold to unsuspecting consumers.
CPC Director-General, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, who led his team and newsmen to the place at IBB Way in Uyo on Friday, said the Council has apprehended eight persons with over 1000 bags of the substandard rice worth millions of Naira confiscated.
The DG announced that those behind the act of re-bagging substandard rice to sell to unsuspecting consumers would be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
“This is the third of all the locations of our sting operation in Uyo with respect to putting away substandard product from the market, specifically rice.
“What we have found here is very sad, a proposed warehouse but nothing here than re-bagged substandard rice.
“All the perpetrators of this act would be prosecuted, not only prosecuting them, but I will advocate for our laws to be respected and sufficient provision for the Customs’ Act for the forfeiture of the building used for this illegality,” Irukera said.
He assured consumers that the monitoring exercise would be routine, to get rid of substandard products from the market and protect the health of consumers.
He urged consumers to be careful where they make their purchases, adding that when they are in doubt they should speak out.
“Consumers need to complain when things go wrong. If somebody buys something that is not good the person should complain. If you don’t like something, say something,” he said.
The DG further warned residents against buying Mama Gold and Royal Stallion rice as the products are no longer in the market.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the operatives of the shop in Udoma street in Etuk Market, Mr Kanayo Jackson, said that they have been in the business since 2013.
He said most of the people selling rice in Akpan Andem and Itam Market in Uyo metropolis have been in the business for long.
“It is not only in Udoma Steet that people are re-bagging rice, there are many other places like Akpan Andem and Itam market. I am only working for my brother, Mr Jackson. We buy the empty bags and re-bag the rice for sale.”
He told newsmen that security operatives have been coming to the shop before, but their boss used to “settle” the security operatives.