Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been directed to come to the aid of Nigerians with over 920,000 of ‘poisonous’ rice as part of efforts to curb the economic pangs, following the compulsory lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.
In compliance with the Presidential directive, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col.Hameed Ali (Rtd) has approved the release of some relief items in addition to boost the Federal Government’s continuous efforts to alleviate sufferings at this challenging times.
Recall that the Customs CG, Ali has always stated that most foreign per-boiled rice are poisonous with harmful preservatives even as he lamented that some of these bags of rice are expired and rebagged on the high seas.
While there is no report from Customs that the bags of rice released for COVID-19 emergency were tested in any laboratory, many of them have been in the government warehouses for years, raising fears of their fitness for consumption as against the CG’s claims on many fora.
The items to be shared by Customs include 46,000 metric tons (158 trailers) of rice(920,000) bags of 50kg, vegetable oil (25l) 36,495kegs in 30 trucks, palm oil in 3,428 kegs (1 truck), tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons (54 trucks), Spaghetti/Noodles 2,951ctns and 1,253pkts (2trucks), Wrappers (Ankara) 828 bales (1truck), Lace fabric 2,300 Rolls (1 truck), among others.
According to Customs, the etimated market value of these items is, Three Billion, two Hundred and Fifty One Million, Eight Hundred and Six Thousand Naira.(N3,251,806,000.00) with Duty Paid Value of (N2,034,954,765.00).
Although the Service has posited that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC will be released to the public, the historical trend shows that Customs have been sending these expired products to Internally Displaced Persons and other Nigerian citizens over the years.
“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”, the Customs boss said.
While urging the officers and men to remain focused on Service delivery, the CGC reminds the operatives and all Nigerians on the need to obey all directives of government and medical experts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
This information was contained in a press release signed by the National Public Relations Officer of NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah.