Nigeria Customs Suspends Food Disposal Initiative After Deaths

February 27, 2024
Nigeria customs rice

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended its seized food disposal initiative following a stampede that claimed seven lives on February 23.

The unfortunate incident occurred during the distribution of 25 kg bags of rice at its Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos State over the weekend at the rate of N10,000 each.

The service announced the suspension in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Mr Abdullahi Maiwada.

Mr Maiwada said that the suspension was part of the service’s resolve to ensure the safety of Nigerians and to enable it to properly articulate its next line of action, in order not to defeat the vision of the initiative.

NCS announced on February 20 that it would facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the federal government in response to the current challenges of food security in Nigeria and the increasingly high costs of essential food items.

It also targeted an improvement in the lives of indigents.

The distribution of 25kg of rice, thus, commenced on February 23 at the discounted price of N10,000 in Lagos.

The service said that the exercise would be managed to ensure that the benefits reach the most needy.

According to the service spokesperson, the bags of rice were out of stock during the pilot distribution, which led to heightened desperation among the crowd.

“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.

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

He said that an internal investigation had been initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate event.

The service commiserated with the families of the deceased and assured them of its unwavering support.

“NCS is working with hospital authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families regarding their next steps,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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