In compliance with the Presidential directive, the Comptroller-General of Nugeria Customs Service Col, Hameed Ali (Rtd) has approved the release of 158 trailer loads of rice and other edible goods in the government warehouse as a relief items to boost the Federal Government continuous efforts to alleviate sufferings associated with the painful but necessary ongoing lockdown in some parts of the Country.
This was contained in a press release issued by the Service through the National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, it states that the Service is reacting to the pains associated with the effects of the lockdown in some parts of the Country occasioned by the Covid19 pandemic.
It read” Reacting to pains associated with the effects of the lockdown in some parts of the Country, some Nigerians have taken to the social media to call on Nigeria Customs Service to share seized rice and other edible items to members of the public.
While some of these calls appear well intended, others had attempted to create the impression that Customs Officers have the liberty to use seized items as they deem fit. Some even mischievously impugned that the items may have already been shared to cronies. Nothing can be further from the truth.
“It is therefore necessary to explain that in line with the provision of section 167(2) of CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004, seized items upon condemnation and forfeiture to the Federal Government by a competent court of jurisdiction are kept in government warehouses pending Government directive on its disposal.”
The items are listed to includes, 46,000 metric tons of rice which is 158 trailers, 36,495kegs of vegetable oil (30 trucks), 3,428 kegs of palm oil (1truck), 136,705 cartons of Tomatoes paste (54trucks), 2,951catoons of Spaghetti/Noodles & 1,253pkts (2trucks).
Others are wrappers (Ankara) 828 bales (1truck), lace fabric 2,300 Rolls (1 truck). The items were estimated to have a market value of N3,251,806,000.00 with Duty Paid Value of N2,034,954,765.00.
The release stated clearly that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC will be released to the public.
“As a responsible agency of government, Nigeria Customs Service appreciates the opportunity of contributing its quota to Federal Government’s continuous efforts to provide relief for Nigerians in this difficult time. NCS remains committed to strictly adhering to all extant laws governing seized and overtime cargoes. Despite the prevailing risks, the Service will continue to discharge its functions of securing the land borders and collection of revenue that is needed during and post Covid- 19 pandemic period.”
The Service however urge its Officers and Men to remain focused on service delivery, while the CGC reminds the operatives and all Nigerians on the need to obey all directives of government and medical experts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.