By: VICTOR DAZANG, Kaduna
As part of the nationwide enforcement raid on unfortified sugar, the North-West Regional Office and all the State Offices (Kaduna, Kano/Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto/Zamfara and Kebbi), Tuesday 31st July 2018 carried out raids in different locations of their respective states where 683 bags of suspected imported unfortified sugar were seized and evacuated.
According to a statement signed by the Regional Coordinator, SON, North West, Mr. Dauda Yakubu made available on Thursday, the products were smuggled into the country without compliance to the requirements of the standards.
“The raids are coming on the directives of the Director General/Chief Executive SON, Mr. Osita Anthony Aboloma for SON offices to commence enforcement raids nationwide on importers and sellers of sugar that are not fortified with the required Vitamin A.
“The development according to the director general, SON is in line with both the present administration and international organisations food fortification programme at ensuring that Nigerian children and women have access to basic nutrients and vitamins for health and development,” it stated.
Speaking at the enforcement exercise on Tuesday in Kaduna for the Regional and State offices in the North-West geopolitical Zone; Mr. Osita Anthony Aboloma who was represented by the Regional Coordinator, North-West, Mr. Dauda Yakubu disclosed that the exercise was conducted simultaneously in the federation including Abuja, the Federal Capital.
The unfortified sugar seized during the raids in the North-West Region was 683bags which includes; Kano-295bags, Sokoto-92bags, Kebbi-53bags, Katsina 123bags and Kaduna 300bags that have a market value of nine million two hundred and twenty thousand five hundred naira (N9,220,500).
The Director General SON, explained that the exercise was embarked to ensure that only sugar fortified with vitamin A and meets the ICUMSA purity level specified in the standard are allowed to be marketed in Nigeria.
The unfortified sugar is lacking in vitamin A and has a high level of ICUMSA concentration (ie. high level of impurities) that is detrimental to health and therefore contravenes the federal government policy on the fortification of certain food products.
He expressed concerned over the current influx of unfortified sugar in the market and reiterates the organisations determination to rid the market of substandard products in the country.
SON, he said will always collaborate with other agencies of government and international partners to ensure that the fortification programme of the present administration is a success.
He however advised Nigerians to report cases of sharp practices in the industry to the SON and always look out for the quality mark and Vitamin A fortification symbols before purchase of these food products for consumption