The Federal Government has vowed to clamp down on the activities of Smugglers, who have begun to flood the country’s markets with harmful frozen fish – which were brought illegally into the country through land borders.
The FG lamented that the smugglers bring in all sorts of frozen fish such as tilapia, red pacus, river bream, pangassius, horse mackerel, sardine, and croaker through the country’s land borders.
However, it vowed to clamp down on the perpetrators and declared that anyone found importing frozen fish without licence from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development risked a five-year jail term or a fine of $250,000, or both.
Speaking on behalf of the government, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said the culprits were sabotaging the efforts of government despite the extant fish importation policy and prohibition of frozen farmed fish importation into the country.
Speaking at the Abuja headquarters of the FMARD on Thursday, Lokpobiri said the circulation of unhealthy fish and fishery products in Nigerian market had resulted in grave health implications such as kidney disease and cancer.
He said, “It has become necessary for the Federal Government through the FMARD to address the Nigerian public on the sale of smuggled unhealthy frozen fish, especially farmed tilapia, in Nigeria. These smuggled frozen fish are very harmful to the health of Nigerians.
“The ministry is using this medium to warn all those involved, colluding, aiding and abetting these nefarious activities to stop or face the full wrath of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Importation of fish without licence attracts five-year imprisonment or a fine of $250,000, or both, in addition to forfeiture and destruction of the vessel and its products.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has put in place measures to arrest, detain and prosecute offenders as provided in the Sea Fisheries Act Cap S4 laws of the Federation 2004. Such persons will be dealt with as criminals and economic saboteurs”