The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the release of N3.3 billion worth of seized food items and other goods as relief materials.
The release, it said, was in accordance with the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to distribute the items as part of palliative measures.
FG has ordered a number of palliative measures following the ordered lockdown in selected states of the country as cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infections rose.
NCS in a press statement disclosed that in compliance with the presidential directive, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (RTD) has approved the release of the relief items.
Customs’ Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, announced the food items as 46,000 metric tons (158 trailers) of rice, 36,495kegs (30 trucks) of vegetable oil, 3,428 kegs (1 truck) of palm oil, and 136,705 cartons (54 trucks) of tomatoes paste.
Also released were: 2 trucks of Spaghetti/ noodles, 828 bales (1 truck) of wrappers and 2,300 rolls (1 truck) of lace fabric.
Customs further disclosed that the items have an estimated market value of N3, 251, 806, 000 with duty paid value of N2,034,953,765,
The law enforcement agency, however, noted that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC were released to the public.
It said in part, “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.”
Attah noted that while some Nigerians have taken to the social media to call on the Service to share seized edible items, the NCS does not deploy the forfeited items at its whims.
“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,” he explained.
The PRO further explained that in line with the provision of its operational law, forfeitures to the Federal Government are kept in government warehouses pending appropriate directive on its disposal.
Attah called on Nigerians to obey all directives of the government and medical experts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.