The Nigerian customs service revealed that six containers of “poisonous” Iranian tomato paste, under the name of Shirin Asal, my tomato concentrate, arrived in the ports of Nigeria to be subsequently sent to local markets.
The NCS therefore raised the alarm over the arrival of the dangerous Iranian tomato concentrate, urging other government agencies to collaborate with the service to ensure that it does not enter Nigerian markets.
According to sources in the ports, the six containers arrived at the nation’s seaports through a ship called Investment Limited and are waiting for the relevant government agencies to authorize them.
“We heard that the tomato paste are poisonous. But they have arrived at the ports, and might get cleared except the customs liaise with other government agencies at the ports. You know that most of these government agencies operate independently at the ports.
“The six containers contain products that fall under the jurisdiction of cargoes examined by the NAFDAC. So, if the NAFDAC does not synergise with customs, some of them might just find their way into our markets,” a clearing agent who begged not to have his name in print told Sunday Tribune.
However, in a move to stop the tomato paste from entering into Nigerian markets, the NCS, in a memo signed by the Deputy Comptroller General Tarrif & Trade to all customs commands, warned that all efforts must be put in place.
According to the internal memo which was sighted by Sunday Tribune and entitled: ‘Re: Importation of expired Iranian tomato paste’ with reference number NCS/T&T/I&E/021/S.112/Vol.71, the customs stated that: “It has been reported that six containers of expired and low quality Iranian tomato paste, Shirin Asal my tomato with brix 20-22 instead of the recommended brix 27-29 have been imported into the country by M.T.V Investment Limited.
“Consumption of the paste is said to be harmful to human health.
“Consequently, all Customs Area Controller (CAC) are directed to put appropriate mechanism in place to debar entry of the said paste and liaise with relevant agencies to forestall distribution and consumption.”