Kano Govt shuts 320-tonne rice mill, says air pollution “aggravates Coronavirus patients”

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The management of Tiamin Rice Limited has received with utter shock and dismay the decision of the Kano State Ministry of Environment to shut down our company over frivolous allegations bordering on alleged air pollution.

Tiamin Rice is a leading rice mill in Kano, which produces 320 metric tonnes of rice daily, and has 223 workers on its payroll.

The decision of the state government to shut down the company was conveyed to us in a “Notice for Closing Order” dated April 18, 2020, citing unfounded allegation of air pollution that aggravates Coronavirus patients.

According to the notice, the government took the decision, following complaints of air pollution “with aggravate Coronavirus patients”.

To set the records straight, there are nearly 30 rice mills operating in Kano State, but our company is the ONLY one affected by the order.

The fact of the matter is that neither state nor federal health officials, nor Ministry of Environment inspectors came to our premises to take any samples of the said pollution.

Although the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), which we are a member, has been exempted from the lockdown order by the state government, we nevertheless halted our production for one week to put in robust internal measures against the spread Coronavirus.

Since halting production on Wednesday April 15, 2020, our workers have been on break and our engines and boilers switched off. When and how did the ministry arrive at the premise of “pollution that aggravates Coronavirus patients” when our plant is deactivated?

We view this orchestrated plan to close our 320-tonne plant as economic sabotage against President Muhammadu Buhari administration, who in his recent speech assured Nigerians that food processing, distribution and retail companies would be exempted from the lockdown.

While following legal avenues to seek redress, we wish to assure our loyal customers and distributors not to panic over this temporary setback. It is also heartwarming to inform our customers that our 600-tonne capacity plant in Bauchi is at the advanced stage of completion.

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