Education

Stones in rice Na Danger O

 

With Adetunji Ayobrown

Daddy, ‘why do I have to eat rice with stones, was the big question my five-year-old boy asked me. i was caught dumfounded, my brain went dead immediately, leaving me alone to sort myself out in the presence of our upcoming generation, our future. A billion naira question I could not answer. Immediately I realised I have let down our generation, because this young boy saw me ‘dead’, struggling and murmuring within myself because of his simple and innocent question. Kai, I am in trouble.
As if that was meant to be serialised, I was just coming from a terrific Nigerian who think eating rice with stones shows patriotism. Don’t be stupid was just the only thing I could say to advise him, he also went dead immediately after my explanation, he realised that process of rice making is so cheap that committing suicide in the name of patriotism is not only foolish but also stupid. His life suddenly became precious to him after he saw common sense in what i said. Do you have to risk eating stones in rice and risk having stones in your appendix?
Ironically, a friend just left arguing the importance or otherwise of border closure after listening to the Customs’ boss boasting on how much the FG had generated from the border closure. But unfortunately for him, he cited example of China as reference without him mentioning what measures put in place before the China border closure. He was proved wrong after I asked him a simple question which he woefully failed in the presence of all. What is stone in rice for? Was just the simple question I asked him. Yes, our border closure is no sin when alternatives are available. For as long as humans will continue to survive, so is rice, irrespective of how and where it’s gotten.
*****Back to my son, yes, I was able to come back and repeat same argument our FG and other few Nigerians put forward in order to escape my ordeal in the presence of this boy. Saying ‘we will get there over time’. But during my trance, I was able to come alive and realise that no, we don’t have to eat stones because we want to patronise made in Nigeria rice.
What does it cost to mill and do other processes of rice and meet up with international standard? This was the question I checked on the internet, but lo and behold, the result is rather unbelievable.
Life is so short, and so is life without knowledge. There is more to be learned, rice milling technology is not space science, it is true, Nigerian government can buy into many of these. Making food available would be number one priority for any modernised society; ask around. Border closure is good but the timing is wrong, many opined.
I know this or something similar is happening in many Nigerian homes. Bromate in bread was stopped or at least checked, so why not do same to stones in rice to prevent appendicitis that could affect citizens’ health condition that is likely going to escalate in some few years. Stones in rice prevention should be taken up as a national debate if need be. National Agency for Food Drug and ***…… Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and relevant agency should please wake up to the call.
The processes in rice making were explained to me, and except for maybe its type, what is done to foreign rice is no big deal. It is nothing else but de-stoning, parboiling and probably polishing, whatever order.
Border closure without adequate alternative is like setting the house ablaze in order to save it from a plague and it makes no sense. It is a known fact that most Nigerians eat rice in one form or the other. I don’t think there is any widely accepted staple food like it. Ranging from its easy way of cooking, to its readiness and availability everywhere, including its nutritious values; the goodness and taste of rice seems to be endless. Ask food nutritionists about types and various rice dishes. When he refused to eat the local rice, I said to myself, trouble is at the corner. Wondering why I said this? Please read along with me!
With many promises during and after elections, little results are seen after almost five years and this is the take of many other citizens. I wish to own Buhari’s farms and in a space of just two seasons, I will produce quality rice that will rival any imported type for almost every Nigerian, I bet you, with even less stress. Just give me a try and see if it is not doable and possible.
Between cold tyre patching and heating/melting solutions are two examples I gave as response when a reader was of the opinion that closing of border is the ultimate and best thing. Though unfortunately, for these opinions, samples and examples of most Nigerians is saying otherwise. Are we saying this government is not capable of processing our Nigerian own type of rice to meet up with international standard? What will you call that? Human beings are animals, and animals don’t fast.
I tried but never could make peace with that, why do we have to eat rice with stones in this modern age and time where technology had gone beyond imaginations? Someone now believes that for Nigeria to have a future, I have to eat rice with stones. I want to assume this government is not stupid indeed.
Take time to consider this before you risk an action that may be fatal after the stones in rice consumption for teaming populace like ours, God forbid such eventuality.
People are going hungry; though the Nigerian type of rice is good, ***but many alleged that unscrupulous Nigerians are adulterating the rice, mixing local type with other types made in Nigeria. Yes, when regulators as slumbering.
It seems the cost of rice processing equipment is more than our national budget, a tweeter user asked. Funny indeed!
No wonder Nigerian neighbours said border closure is not the solution, to which many agreed. Taking rice away from these million Nigerians may spell doom’, abi I lie? My wife was complaining about price and non-availability of rice again I now agree that this is truly becoming a national disaster.
As bromated bread was stopped(?); same can be done in this important sector. Rice milling technology is no space science for any serious government, think about this please. Giving our children stones in rice is suicidal. Nigerians are begging for effective monitoring by relevant ministries and parastatals. So what is our pride and what can we say in the presence of generations to come.  Asking Nigerians to consume this is asking us to eat anything and is not good at all in this modernised world. As bromate in bread, so are stones in rice, Simplicita.
If truly the production of rice is vast and on the increase as claimed by this administration, getting rice procession machines and mills should not be a herculean task for any right thinking government. That is my take.
I also want to say that even if government thinks the best is closure of all borders, commodity price stability is a most for Nigerian workers whose minimum wages is still under negotiation despite the initial acceptance and promise of N30,000 buy President Buhari during his campaigns.
When a government in unable to feed its teeming citizens and thinks no better provision is need before its borders are closed, I wonder what to call.
I want to ask our Federal Government how we can be proud to tell Nigerian children we eat stones in order to secure their future, without them replying us to remove those stones? ‘Technology is robust’ and readily available, what is just needed is the right application. Ayobrown, Senior System Analyst, National Pilot Newspaper, writes via aayobrown@gmail.com

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