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Businessmen Take Advantage of COVID19 Lockdown

Investigations carried out by Premium Times has revealed that amid COVID-19 lockdown, Rivers superstores sell expired goods. Also other related news disclosed that:
- Nigerian govt probes increased prices for sanitisers, face masks
- Inside details of raid on Abuja store selling 'illegal' Chinese seafood
- Justrite donates food products to Osun Government
- Abuja residents disobey social distancing directive
- Police arrest officers seen in video destroying drinks
The above revelations and discoveries are of paramount concern to parents and the general public as schools resumes after five months of being under lock and key because of the dreaded pandemic. School children must surely ask for snacks, provisions and other edibles as they go back to school. The most affected are those  who live in boarding schools. The resultant health hazards is unthinkable. The clash would be the difficulty to differentiate between deaths caused by Covid19  and that caused by expired poisonous food.
It could be recalled that as a means of reducing the infection rate of coronavirus in Rivers State, the state government shut down major markets amongst other restrictions. The government, however, kept superstores open, making them the primary place where residents can get groceries and other items.
A PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation has revealed that the health of people who purchase groceries from these superstores may be at risk as some of them are openly selling expired goods.
Market Square
Marketsquare is among the five biggest superstores in Rivers State. It has seven outlets across the state. Our investigation revealed that this superstore was still selling goods several days after they were past their expiry dates and manipulating the prices of some of its products.
On June 2, this reporter went to the popular MarketSquare at Ada George Road, in Port Harcourt, the capital city of the state, to buy groceries. Behind the deep fridge used for storing ice cream, she saw an A$ paper with the inscription “Discount Price boldly written on it. Also written on the paper were the original and new prices of the products the paper was affixed to. But as she picked some of the discounted products, she discovered that some of the products on display were expired.
For instance, the expiry date of “Unik Baby Soap, Sweet Angel” was May 26, 2020, five days before this reported visited the superstore.
Yamama Soy Sauce was another product on the discounted shelf. The product was going to expire the next day. The price of the product had already been slashed to N100. When this reporter returned to the store five days later, it had been taken off the discount shelf. However, another product had taken its place – Ossat Natural Oil Moisture Mist. The label on the product indicated that it would expire in June 2020. Not only was this product sold to the reporter, but it was also sold at a much more expensive price. On the discounted shelf the price tag on the product was N900 but this reporter was charged N2,350.
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Timeless Super Stores
Another superstore that stocked and sold expired goods was Timeless Super Store. When this reporter visited the Timeless Super Store’s outlet on NTA/Mgbouba Road closed to Obiri-Ikwere Roundabout, Port Harcourt, she found some expired product on its discount shelf as well.
Among the products on display was a batch of expired Yamama Soy Sauce. Just like the batch of the same product found at MarketSquare, the expiration date on the product was June 3 but the item was still up for sale for N100 five days after.
The reporter noticed another expired product – Spice Supreme Poultry Seasoning was being sold for N530. The expiry date on the product was June 4, 2020. The reporter returned to the store on June 9 and Spice Supreme Poultry Seasoning was yet to be taken off the discount shelf.
“You pick this from the slashed stand right?” the cashier asked. When the reporter admitted yes, she only told the reporter that the Yamama Soy sauce has been slashed from N1,400 to N1,100.
On June 26, this reporter visited another outlet of Timeless Superstore on Ada George Road. The store was selling the following expired products: Silka Body Lotion, Purity Baby Cereal when had expired four days earlier, and Nestle Cerelac with an expiration date of June 2020. The reporter bought the Purity Baby Cereal and the Nestle Cerelac. The cashier at the checkout counter did not utter a word about the expired products.
NAFDAC reacted on this and warned on the death threatening hazards of consumption of such expired foods.  It obvious that the attraction is in the reduction of the prices. This is dangerous and very deceptive. NAFDAC should take proactive measures to see that all the food that would be supplied in all the boarding schools across the nation is properly scrutinized. The lives of the students should not be at stake because of the meanness and greediness of some businessmen
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