Nigerian fish trading industry operators have kicked against the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to allocate fish import rights to some people without recourse to due process.
In a Save Our Soul message they distributed to journalists, the traders operating under the umbrella of Nigeria Fish Traders Association, noted that the Federal Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture was contravening the laws guiding the operation of their business by allocating import licences against extant laws.
“Under the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria, no new law can come into operation without the passing of the bill by the National Assembly. If this is the norm, why then should the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, and the Director of Fisheries, Mrs. Folake Areola, without any laid down and distinct formula allocate fish import quota or rights to any company in the country through the Federal Department of Fisheries issuance of letter of clearance for foreign exchange purposes?” they queried.
“The fisheries letter of clearance for foreign exchange purposes to fish importers registered with it is not an import licence for fish. The Federal Department of Fisheries does not and in all of its existence has never issued any import license for fish.”
The SOS letter also pointed out some irregularities in the Fish Farm Estate Programme, which the traders claim, “12 beneficiaries were to receive N15 million grant each in early 2013 (totalling N180 million), and till date none of the beneficiaries has collected any amount.