The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), has approved the release of food items worth N3.3bn as relief materials to Nigerians. This is in compliance with the presidential directive to donate seized items to people during the lockdown.
The spokesman for the NCS, Joseph Attah, confirmed this in a press statement.
Attah gave the breakdown of the items as 158 trailers of rice in 46,000 metric tonnes; 30 trucks of vegetable oil, one truck of palm oil, 54 trucks of tomato paste, two trucks of spaghetti and noodles, one truck of wrappers(Ankara) and one truck of lace fabric.
He added that only food items certified fit for consumption by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control would be released.
He said, “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 the government’s warehouses pending directives on their disposal”.
“Accordingly, in compliance with the Presidential directive, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) has already approved the release of the relief items to boost the Federal Government’s continuous efforts to alleviate sufferings associated with the painful but necessary ongoing lockdown in some parts of the country.”
He said the estimated market value of the items was N3,251,806,000 with duty paid value of N2,034,953,765, adding that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC would be released to the public
He added, “As a responsible agency of government, the NCS appreciates the opportunity of contributing its quota to the Federal Government’s continuous efforts to provide relief for Nigerians in this difficult time.
“The NCS remains committed to strictly adhering to all extant laws governing seized and overtime cargoes.”
Attah pledged that despite the prevailing risks, the service would continue to discharge its functions of securing the land borders and collection of revenue needed during and post-COVID-19 pandemic.