Food Crisis: Nigeria Customs Sells Seized Items, A Bag Of Rice For N10,000
Nigeria Customs Service CGC Adewale Adeniyi speaking during the flag off of the rice disbursement program in Lagos on Thursday, February 22, 2024, Photo credit: NCS X handle

Food Crisis: Nigeria Customs Sells Seized Items, A Bag Of Rice For N10,000

2 months ago
2 mins read

The Nigeria Customs service (NCS) has announced that it has begun nationwide sales of seized food items including bags of rice to Nigerians as a way of supporting the federal government’s effort in combating raging food scarcity across the country.

Prime Business Africa gathered that NCS is selling a 25kg bag of rice for as low as N10,000.

A statement signed by Abdullahi Maiwada, Chief Superintendent of Customs National Public Relations Officer for the Comptroller General of Customs, said the initiative was part of efforts by the Comptroller General, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, in advancing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s food security agenda.

According to the statement, the CGC, who spoke at the flag-off of the rice disbursement program in Lagos on Thursday, 22 February 2024 stressed the importance of transparency and accountability in the distribution process, urging Nigerians participating in the exercise to refrain from selling the rice in markets or hoarding it for purposes other than domestic consumption.

Adeniyi said the service had obtained permission from the government to distribute the food products that were confiscated to underprivileged Nigerians at a reduced cost. The intended recipients of the food items, according to the service, include teachers, nurses, artists, religious organisations, and other Nigerians.

Nigeria customs seized rice
Photo credit: NCS X handle

The Customs Comptroller General made it clear that having a verifiable National Identity Number (NIN) is one of the requirements to be eligible for the initiative’s benefits.

“The target groups include artisans, teachers, nurses, religious bodies, and other Nigerians within our operational areas. The intention is to reach out directly to members through these organized structures to ensure the maximum impact of this exercise.

“It is imperative that beneficiaries of this exercise understand that the items are not to be resold. We take a strong stance against any form of profiteering or exploitation of this initiative. We urge Nigerians to report any incidents of misuse or unauthorized resale of the seized food items.” the CGC said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Service said it has discovered a concerning trend of massive smuggling of food items to neighbouring countries which exacerbates food shortage in the country.

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“Some of the items include: Over 20,000 bags of assorted grains (rice, beans, maize, guinea corn, millet, soya beans, 2,500 cartons and 963 bags of dried fish. Others include: Dried pepper, tomatoes, cooking oil, maggi, macaroni, salt, sugar, garri. This trend is not sustainable as it puts pressure on our productive capacity and threatens our food security.”

It said that a strategic anti-smuggling operation and public engagement have been launched in line with NCS’s commitment to prevent the unlawful exportation of vital food resources for individual economic gains which aggravates food scarcity.

“This urgent imperative fuels the need for a proactive stance to safeguard food availability within our nation and alleviate the detrimental effects of scarcity on citizens.”

It explained that “the condition for the export of any item is only met upon fulfilling sufficiency internally.”

“Furthermore, to alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians and improve access to essential food items, the Nigeria Customs Service will facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the Federal Government.

“These items will be certified fit for consumption by relevant agencies and made available to ordinary Nigerians nationwide through equitable distribution in our Areas of Operations.”

To prevent any misuse or diversion of the food supplies, Adeniyi assured that customs officials would closely monitor the entire supply chain, adding that the service has designed tight procedures and eligibility requirements to guarantee that the items are provided solely to people who are truly in need.

“The NCS remains resolute in its dedication to safeguarding the nation’s food security and advancing the economic well-being of all Nigerians. With the unwavering support and cooperation of the public, we will surmount these challenges and pave the way for a more prosperous future for our beloved nation,” the statement added.

Correspondent at Prime Business Africa | + posts

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.

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