A member of the House of Representatives from Nasarawa state, Gaza Jonathan, has said the federal government broke the law by exporting yams as its export is prohibited under the export prohibition act.
Jonathan disclosed this on Wednesday while moving a motion on the floor of the house.
In June, Nigeria exported yams to China, United Kingdom and US as part of efforts to reduce dependence on oil and increase income from the agricultural sector.
The US reportedly rejected some of the yams because of its “poor quality”.
Last week, Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, vowed to investigate both the exporting company and officials of the ministry’s department of quarantine for allowing such kind of product leave the country.
But the lawmaker argued that export (prohibition) act lists beans, cassava tuber, maize, rice, yam and their product derivatives as goods prohibited from exportation.
“The federal government has in the bid to increase agricultural products exportation, disregarded a subsisting law and carried on the exportation of some of the above goods expressly prohibited from exportation,” Jonathan said.
“The recent report that 72 tonnes of yam tubers that were exported sometime in June 2017 were rejected by the United States of America as they were found to have been bad upon arrival, thereby causing the nation great embarrassment as it is now obvious that produce approved for export by the government do not meet with world standards for exportation.
“The above development raises concern about the capacity of ministries, departments and agencies charged with the responsibilities of conducting necessary checks on quality of goods billed for export to diligently carry out the assignments, and this also calls to question the safety of food approved for local consumption by those MDAs.
“A bill for an act to repeal the provisions of the export prohibition act, had recently passed second reading in the house.”
The house mandated its committees on agricultural production and services and customs to meet with Ogbeh over the country’s export of yam.
The committees will also meet with representatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other agencies.