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Fertilizer manufacturers illegally exporting products – NSA

The Nation Newspaper - August 04, 2016

The National Security Adviser, (NSA) Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno rtd, accused two major fertilizer manufacturing companies in Nigeria of illegally exporting 71 percent of their total production thereby starving Nigerian farmers and endangering both food and national security.
A  visibly angry Monguno said  the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) will not hesitate to close down any company engaged in acts of illegality in the manufacture and distribution of fertilizers in the country.
The NSA also revealed that 9000kg of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators have been diverted for illegal use in the Niger Delta.
The explosives have been used in the incessant bombings of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta.
Two companies, Notore Chemical Industry limited and Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals were granted the exclusive rights to manufacture fertilizer for local consumption after the Federal Government banned the importation of fertilizers following discovery that certain grades of fertilizers were being used to manufacture the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) employed by terrorists in the country.
Monguno said the ONSA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also facilitated necessary importation of raw materials and ensured secured distribution networks with the aim of solving a national security problem and boosting local production of the product thereby boosting the economy.
He said the cumulative annual production of the two companies is estimated at 2.05 million metric tons while the estimated national consumption rate is 1.1 million metric tons leaving the companies with a cumulative export value of about 47 percent.
Monguno: “However, the Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with total dismay, some unpatriotic act and abuse of the goodwill of the government, reports of these companies have indicated that about 71 percent of the 2.05 million metric tons cumulative annual production is being exported to the detriment of our national economy. This has resulted in a spike in the price of urea-based fertilizers in Nigeria with obvious implications on food security in the country.
“In view of the foregoing, I wish to categorically state that the government will continue to adhere to the rule of law, however, it must be noted that the rule of law is not akin to anarchy. Accordingly, this office will not hesitate to close and withdraw the operating license of any company that exports products without first meeting local consumption.  This office and the Ministry will work to put in place measures to access production and determine exportable quantity by the respective companies.”
Monguno who was flanked by the Hon. Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and other top officials of the ONSA noted that due to the unpatriotic acts of the companies local farmers are suffering due to lack of fertilizers.
“I must state that the goodwill shown by the government of this country will not be taken for granted, the fact that we are in a difficult complicated situation  in terms of economy and security does not mean that companies and anybody with vested interest should take the government for granted.  The president came to power with specific mandates which is clear to all Nigerians and the international communities, we will view with very serious consequences, whatever any company does to fall out of line and behave in a manner that will ruin the economy and security of this country,” he said.
The NSA said investigations into the incessant bombings of oil facilities in the Niger Delta region have revealed that commercial explosives and accessories were used for the attacks. In view of that, audit of the records  of explosive magazines and quarries in the region were carried out which revealed a diversion of 9000 kg of high explosives and 16,420 pieces of detonators for illegal use.
Monguno said the actors including the store man of a major explosives distribution company in Nigeria and five security operatives have been arrested and handed over to appropriate authorities.
He said: “Right now investigations have been conducted and I can assure you they are deeply culpable and appropriate actions will be taken. Let me once again reiterate that  any individual or company that operates outside the confines of legitimacy and legality will find itself to blame,  I also want to add the government  of the day will not listen to any influence peddler  in society on behalf of any company that decides to sabotage national security.”
In a reaction, the Head of Sales, Notore Chemicals Industry, Mr. Oscar Okpe who refused to comment on the allegations however said the company is committed to equitable distribution of fertilizers in Nigeria.  In a telephone interview, Oscar said the company is putting fertilizers in the market and farmers will soon begin to access the products.
However, Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals said a release would be issued on the matter at other dates.
 

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