By Monsuru Olowoopejo,
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to cushion the effect of lockdown on the citizens, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has approved release of food items worth over N3 billion to the citizens as part of the Federal Government’s palliative measures.
The approval came barely 24 hours after the President ordered the immediate release of 150 truckloads of rice seized from smugglers in the country.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ali (retd), on Tuesday, said that the food items would afford the agency to alleviate sufferings associated with the painful but necessary ongoing lockdown in some parts of the Country.
He said: “The items with an estimated market value of N3,251 billion is accompanied by Duty Paid Value of N2billion to be used as coronavirus palliatives were in compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive”.
The Customs boss stressed that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will be released to the public”.
With this, the Customs would be releasing 46,000 metric tons of rice loaded in 158 articulated trucks, Vegetable oil (251) 36,495kegs stocked in 30 trucks, Palm oil 3,428 kegs in a single truck, Tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons packed in 54 trucks, Spaghetti/Noodles 2,951ctns and 1,253 packets loaded in two trucks, 828 bales of wrappers (Ankara) and 2,300 rolls of lace fabric.
Ali, in a statement by Public Relations Officer, DC, Joseph Attah, assured Nigerians that the law enforcement agency would continuously discharge its functions of securing the country’s land borders and collect revenue that would be needed to keep the country afloat as fight against the pandemic is intensified and ensure same after the country exit from Covid- 19 pandemic nations.
“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 added
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.