Lest We Forget

a commentary on socio-political developments and institutional policies

Unhealthy Imported Rice

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina was quoted a couple of weeks ago as saying that rice imported from India and Thailand are often not healthy for human consumption as they are mostly expired products of over 15 years. (Courtesy Leadership Newspaper, December 12, 2013)

Coming from a Minister who is not given to frivolities and political gobbledygook,  this is a very grave revelation. What keeps on baffling me is the supine surrender to which we submit ourselves in this nation. To make matters worse, those who are saddled with the disciplinary responsibility are the very ones who cry helplessness. Are there no governmental agencies whose brief it is to ensure that food items imported into the country are fit for human consumption? With all the plethora of agencies at our seaports how did such sordid activities easily sail through?

Unfortunately, Dr. Adesina, by his disclosure, was reporting the federal government as untrustworthy of our lives. A product that expired for a year must attract serious sanctions to the importer not to mention whopping fifteen years. It is as scandalous as it is unpardonable. Instead of unwittingly reporting the failure of government to properly protect our lives, we should be told what measures the government is taking to forestall reoccurrence and the steps taken to mete out appropriate punishment to the importers and the complicit government agencies, after all, we are still importing rice. The federal government must not continue to abdicate its responsibility to its citizens. Our governments are not organic in nature. It is hierarchically eccentric and not concentric as should be expected. Isn’t someone in charge in this country to whom everyone else is responsible and accountable? How is it that everyone has become a law unto himself? All our agencies are working at cross purposes. While an agency is studiously attacking health challenges another is busy undermining it. While a government institution is putting measures in place to ensure free and fair election,  a segment of the institution is scheming sabotage of the same effort. The contradictions are endless. Ours are governments of perfect perfidy and colossal contradictions. Yet no one is valiant enough to hold defaulters of law accountable.  Everyone is afraid of taking the necessary steps to contain this slide to barbarism and mindless criminality.  From the man on the street to the minister in the office, it’s all complaints and no action.

Strange enough, smaller nations around us are doing better in terms of law enforcement, compliance with rules and regulations and crime detection and punishment. No nation is perfect, but at least we must attempt to address the challenges, not to ignore or avoid them as if such is the route to solution. Unhealthy rice has been imported and the importers smiled to the banks in jubilation. Someone somewhere, sooner or later would fall sick arising from its consumption.  An unpunished crime is an incentive for more criminality. Our political connection is an impregnable fortress for unconscionable greed, conspicuous corruption, flagrant criminality, detestable incivility, unpardonable licentiousness, wanton profligacy, nauseating impunity and inexplicable imbecility. What a people!

Seriously speaking, it is such a huge shame that a country that ought to be a model, at least in black Africa,  in terms of benevolent governance, organised society, orderliness, crime detection and law enforcement, considering our vast human capital and natural endowments is lumbering wobbly behind like a drunken straggler. What a shame! If God saves us from our enemies who will save us from our leaders? May your Xmas be merry.

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