Customs Suspend Cheap Rice Sale As People over Stampede In Lagos

Customs Suspends Cheap Rice Sale As 7 Die During Stampede In Lagos

Lagos residents Besieged the Customs Office on Monday despite the death of seven people on Friday during a stampede.
2 months ago
2 mins read

The Nigeria Customs Service has suspended the sale of rice in Lagos following the unfortunate incident that reportedly led to death of seven people at its Yaba office on Friday.

The NCS National Spokesman, Abdullahi Maiwada, who announced the suspension on Monday, said the food distribution exercise would resume after an investigation into the cause of the stampede.

NCS had on Thursday flagged off distribution of rice seized from smugglers at a low price of N10,000. However, its different turn as people thronged their office in large number and in the ensuing chaos as they struggled to get the commodity a pregnant woman and six others died.

READ ALSO: 

The NCS Comptroller General, Adewale Adeniyi, had said the gesture was to support the federal government in alleviating hunger in the country caused by high cost of things.

READ ALSO: Adopt Official FX Rate For Import Duty Assessment, CBN Tells Nigeria Customs

The NCS spokesperson said: “It will be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on the directive of Mr. President, announced the commencement of a noble intervention aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians and improving access to essential food items through the direct disposal of seized edible goods condemned in competent courts of law and certified fit for consumption by relevant government agencies. Consequently, a pilot exercise was conducted on Friday, 23 February 2024, at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos state.

“The exercise was conducted following meticulous planning to address all potential risks that may emerge during the exercise. As part of our process and control measures, we had Nigeria Police and military personnel to ensure crowd control.

“We also fully equipped a medical team on the ground in anticipation of potential risks during an exercise of that magnitude. Their presence was part of our proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

“The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800 hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.

“This was the case up until about 1700 hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press.

“However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.

“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.

“The Nigeria Customs Service extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this challenging time, and we assure them of our unwavering support. We are working with Hospital Authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.

“Following this incident, an internal investigation was initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event.

“As a service deeply committed to the welfare and safety of Nigerians, we recognize the need for heightened sensitivity and preventive measures in all our operations.

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024.

“This should help us to properly articulate a more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention.

“We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians as we work towards addressing the challenges facing our nation’s food security.”

 

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


MOST READ

Follow Us

Latest from Featured Posts

Don't Miss

Ogbonnaya Onu Was A Politician Of Honour, Integrity – Ikpeazu

Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has expressed deep sorrow over