By Gabriel Ewepu and Alice Ekpang, Abuja
The National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, has confiscated seeds from Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Agricultural Development Programme, ADP, FADAM and other local seed dealers during seed inspection in Abuja.
This was made known by the Director-General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo while conducting journalists round to see the confiscated seeds.
According to Ojo FCT ADP FADAMA did not conform with the government Seed Act, and as such are not certified while those confiscated from other local dealers were expired, fake or without certification.
He said: “You have seen seeds confiscated and the sellers are not arrested, the law said there should be a first and second chance so the confiscation of the seeds is to remove it from the shelve so that the seeds will not get to the hands of poor and innocents farmers in Nigeria and to send a signal to the sellers that they need to do the needful that is why you see me directing them that they must report at the seed council for further sensitization.
“So it is hoped that after this exercise they would have put in a lot of measures to avert any reoccurrence. However, if such is not done then arrest will now follow and they will proceed to court and fined appropriately.”
The NASC boss also disclosed that the matter will be handled accordingly despite the organization involved is a federal agency.
“It is very easy to handle, as it was confiscated I told them I was going to write formally to their programme manager, it is hoped that when the council make a formal writing to the program manager there is going to be an internal re-digging exercise that will take place there, I am sure they would not want their names to be dragged in the mud so definitely ADP will do the needful if not we have to look at option B which is to charge them to court, no one is greater than Nigeria law”.
“The seeds we have seized now is going to be aggregated at the headquarters, when we finish the Abuja zone we are going to other zones all the six geo-political zones after we must have aggregated all the seeds at our annual ceremony which is called feed day and seed fair.
“The seeds will be publicly burned in the presence of government dignitaries and traditional leaders so as to serve as a warning to all those we have confiscated the seeds from, none of these seeds will be released to anyone,” he said.
He also warned unscrupulous Nigerians who are into the illicit business to desist from it or the long hand of the law will catch up with them.
“My advice is to tell them that Nigeria no longer controls the sales of fake seeds to Nigeria farmers again because one of the agenda of this present government is to diversify into agriculture so that farmers will have returns on their investment but by the time farmers get fake seeds definitely the returns will not be anything to write home about, so my advice to them is to desist from this act unless the long hand of the law will catch up with them”, he stated.