SHUT ABUJA CHINESE RESTAURANT UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR RIGHTS ABUSES

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has commenced interrogation of the management team of some Chinese restaurants that were shut two weeks ago for selling products that violated consumer rights.

The FCCPC had in a sting operation carried out two weeks ago shut Chinese-owned Panda Supermarket in the Jabi area of Abuja over allegations of consumer rights abuse and sale of some expired frozen foods from China.

Last week, the agency also visited Haopeng Hotel and Restaurant Limited and shut down business activities at the location.

During the operation, the agency confiscated some frozen food items allegedly imported illegally from China.

Following the operation, the agency said it would conduct an investigation into the activities of the companies to determine how expired products were imported into the country.

Findings by our correspondent on Tuesday showed that the management team of Panda Supermarket were quizzed on how the products found their way into the Nigerian market.

A top official in the FCCPC with knowledge of the investigation confided in our correspondent that one of the major reasons for the probe was to determine the source of supplies of the products to the Chinese companies.

He said that already, the commission had requested the company to furnish it with vital documents to determine where the products were sourced from.

He listed some of the documents being requested to include certification papers for some of the products, import papers for products, and certificate of nutrition analysis for some of the products, among others.

He said, “One thing that Nigerians should be sure of is that if for any reason we feel that they are withholding information, we will invoke the law so as to get the information from them.

“So certainly, it’s not going to be long from now before we finish the investigation. We are making progress.”

The Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukere, had during one of the enforcement exercises said the complex housing the restaurant contained other businesses that were operating without the required approvals.

He said in one of the shops visited in the complex, there were all kinds of ethnic expired products imported from China that were concealed in a supermarket.

The products, he said, were sold in wholesale to Chinese restaurants who ultimately cooked and served foods to unsuspecting consumers.

He said, “This is another location of an ethnic restaurant and supermarket that restricts access and what we see here is that we have uncooperative operatives and so we had to force the place open.”

He said with the global attention that the issue of coronavirus was getting, there was need for the commission to be more proactive in its enforcement exercise.

Copyright PUNCH.

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