Customs Service approves distribution of seized rice, others as relief materials to Nigerians
…items worth over N3.3 billion
Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has approved the release of seized items including 46,000 metric tons of rice, equivalent to 158 trailers, 30 trucks of vegetable oil totalling 36,495 kegs, and one truck of palm oil, as relief items .
This is support the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate the sufferings associated with the ongoing lockdown in some parts of the country to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
Customs was silent on who is eligible to benefit, but the distribution of the items was in compliance with the presidential directive given to Customs.
Other items that are to be distributed alongside the above items include 54 trucks of tomato paste amounting to136,705 cartons; two trucks of spaghetti and noodles totalling 2,951cartons and 1,253 packs; one truck of Ankara totalling 828 bales of wrappers (Ankara), and one truck of lace fabric amounting to 2,300 rolls.
According to a statement signed by Joseph Attah, public relations officer of Customs and sent to newsmen on Tuesday, the estimated market value of these items was put at over N3.3 billion with duty paid value of N2,034,954,765.00.
“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,” he explained.
He stated that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC will be released to the public.
“As a responsible agency of government, NCS 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,” he said.
Attah further assured that despite the prevailing risks, the Service would continue to discharge its functions of securing the land borders and collection of revenue that is needed during and post-COVID- 19 pandemic period.
While urging the officers and men to remain focused on service delivery, he said that the CGC reminded 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.