In furtherance to the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has ordered the release of N5billion relief materials to be distributed to Nigerians.
In a press statement by the Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah, the CG of Customs approved 158 trucks of seized foreign parboiled rice and 30 trucks of Vegetable oil certified fit for consumption by the National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said, “the outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus (Covid-19) necessitated various and continuous actions by Government at different levels to prevent/stop the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
“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 farther 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.
“Accordingly, in compliance with the Presidential directive, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ali (Rtd) has already approved the release of the following 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.”
Attah said the relief materials worth N3 billion market value and the Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth N2billion.
The items are, “Rice 46,000 metric tons worth 158 trailers; vegetable oil estimated at 30 trucks and palm oil estimated at 1 truck.
“Others are tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons (54 trucks); spaghetti/Noodles 2,951ctns & 1,253pkts (2trucks); Wrappers (Ankara) 828 bales (1truck) and lace fabric 2,300 rolls (1 truck).”
“Estimated market value of these items is, N3.2billion with Duty Paid Value of N2billion. 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 of the need to obey all directives of Government and medical experts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Editing by ‘Biodun Soyele
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