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Poisonous Rice: Panic Heightens As Govt Douses Tension



n its bid to douse the growing tension within the Ebonyi State capital following the news of the poisonous rice being sold at the Abakaliki Rice mill, the state government, yesterday, urged members of the public to report any person found selling or in custody of the rice in the state. The state government said that they had to re-open the Abakaliki Rice Mill Limited located in the capital city following preliminary investigations it carried out but insisted that they would also move into the hinterlands to ensure that the perpetrators of the act do not take the rice to unsuspecting villages in the state. Briefing journalists at the State Executive Council chambers, the senior special assistant to the governor on Internal Security, Barr Kenneth Ugbala, said that the state government ordered the temporary closure of the market to enable the state government carry out proper investigation of the allegations.

Ugbala stated that immediately the report came, the state government set up a committee to investigate the matter adding that the committee swung into action by visiting the market on Tuesday and Wednesday where it seized the suspected adulterated and poisonous rice. The chairman of the committee, Barr Ugbala, further said they have confiscated all the poisonous rice in the market and assured that Abakaliki rice is still very safe and fit for consumption. He, however, said the 10 shops where the adulterated rice was discovered would remain sealed pending the conclusion of investigations by security agencies. Mr Ugballa also announced the suspension of the leadership of the Rice Mill, headed by Joseph Ununu. “An interim leadership will be set up to manage the affairs of the Rice Mill till further notice as nature abhors vacuum.”