Following President Muhammadu Buhari directives that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) should distribute seized food items to the 36 States of the federation due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the country, the serviced has stated that only food items certified fit by the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) will be released.
The National Public Relation Officer of the service, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah disclosed this in a press statement that was released yesterday
Giving a breakdown of the items he said the items include 158 trailers of rice in 46,000 metric tonnes; 30 trucks of vegetable oil in 36,495kegs; one truck of palm oil in 3,428kegs; 54 trucks of tomato paste in 136,705 cartons; two trucks of spaghetti and noddles in 2,951 cartons and 1,253 packets; one truck of wrappers(Ankara) in 828 bales and one truck of lace fabric in 2,300 rolls.
Worth N3,251,806,000 as relief materials to be given to Nigerians to suppress the effects of lockdown caused by the pandemic.
According to him “Reacting to the 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 the 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.
“It is therefore necessary to explain that in line with the provision of section 167(2) of Customs and Excise Management Act 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 directives on their disposal.
"Estimated market value of these items is, Three Billion, two Hundred and Fifty One Million, Eight Hundred and Six Thousand Naira.(N3,251,806,000.00) with Duty Paid Value of (N2,034,954,765.00).
"It should be noted 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. 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".
While urging the officers and men to remain focused on Service delivery, 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.