The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has made clarifications on the charges it collects from passengers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport intending to travel with agricultural produce abroad.
The agency made the clarification following a viral video on facebook made by a passenger, identified as Simisade who was billed to travel to the United Kingdom with some agricultural commodities from Nigeria.
The air traveller had uploaded the video on facebook to register her displeasure over the charges being collected on agricultural produce which according to her is not applicable in other airports outside the country.
NAQS in its official media response said, the government agency is responsible for promoting and regulating sanitary and phytosanitary measures related to the import and export of plant, animal and aquatic resources.
The agency stated that its primary mandate is to prevent the introduction, spread and establishment of pests and diseases in the country and minimize all associated risks to the Nigerian agricultural economy.
It added that the body also ensures that all products exported from Nigeria satisfies the requirements of the International Plant Protection Convention and the phytosanitary measures of the destination countries.
“In fulfillment of her responsibilities, NAQS inspects and certifies all agricultural products to ascertain their wholesomeness. NAQS officers are stationed at all ports of entry, including the airports, seaports and land borders. They work round the clock to protect the integrity of the Nigerian agricultural economy.
“The officers whom you met on that fateful day were only performing their legitimate duty. NAQS inspects agricultural items intended for export and issues a phytosanitary certificate when the product is determined to be safe and free of pests and contamination. Please note that export in our book covers all overseas-bound materials, even if such items are meant for non-commercial purposes. The fees that you paid are explicable in terms of the token chargeable for the service of inspection and certification of agricultural products by NAQS.
“It may interest you to know that the user fees are on our website, www.naqs.gov.ng, and NAQS remits 25% of the user fees it collects to the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.
“Thus, there is nothing essentially untoward about the conduct of our officers. Thankfully, you graciously acknowledged, in your live video, that they were courteous and professional in attending to you.”