Hussein Ejibunu, the acting comptroller of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), stated that the Federal Government’s decision to forbid the importation of used clothing was motivated by the law supporting the service as well as efforts to improve local clothing production and prevent the spread of disease.
Speaking with Saturday Tribune, Ejibunu revealed that in addition to used clothing, the Federal Government also categorically forbids using old refrigerators and shoes.
He stated: “The first and main reason why Customs take used clothing is because it is prohibited under the Schedule 4 of the Customs Excise and Management Act’s absolute prohibition list (CEMA).
The law that forbids the importing of old clothing is this one.
“Second, the Federal Government opposes the importing of old garments due to the health risks involved. The health of persons who wore the majority of those clothes prior to their shipment here is unknown to Nigerians.
“Bringing in such goods can have dangerous impacts on Nigerians in this time when dangerous diseases like monkey pox are common.
“Wearing unwashed second-hand clothing might expose consumers to skin disorders like scabies and fungal diseases, which are highly serious health consequences of this act of textile importation.
The globe is currently on edge due to monkey pox, whose route of transmission includes clothing. According to a data page from the World Health Organization, monkey pox can be spread to people through direct contact with an animal or person who has the disease, as well as through contaminated objects. By coming into intimate contact with lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects like bedding, the monkey pox virus can be passed from one person to another.
It is a viral zoonotic illness that mostly affects tropical rainforest regions in Central and West Africa, with sporadic exportations to other locations.
Thirdly, the Federal Government outlawed the importation of worn clothing in an effort to increase local apparel and fabric production.
“The government intends to protect the local textile industry and increase employment opportunities for Nigerians, starting with the cotton farms and ending with the textile and apparel factories.
“We have facilities in Calabar where a lot of textile is manufactured. Such businesses in Calabar will fail if the government continues to permit the importation of secondhand clothing, which will result in further job losses.