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Hardship: Customs To Resume Distribution Of Subsided Rice, Other Food Items

The Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Ogun States Command, has announced plans to resume the distribution of the subsided rice and other food items to citizens as soon as the Federal Government finalises the modalities for the exercise.

According to NCS, the modalities for the distribution exercise became necessary to prevent a repeat of the tragic incident recalled in Lagos, where scores of people died when armed hoodlums in camouflage attempted to force their way into the venue.

Recall that NCS began the distribution of seized food items on the order of the Federal Government to Nigerians to help mitigate the current hardship in the country.

While speaking with newsmen at the command headquarters in Ibadan, the Area Controller, Oyo/Osun Command, Ben Oramalugo, said that in light of the current food shortage and rising prices, the federal government has directed the Nigeria Customs Service to distribute seized rice at a cheaper price to the public to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians and make sure that they have access to affordable food.

He said that the distribution of the seized items would go a long way in alleviating the hardship being faced by many families, while adding that they are taking the directive very seriously, and are committed to ensuring that the seized rice is distributed fairly and transparently, with eligible beneficiaries carefully screened and verified before they receive the items.

His words: “Once the necessary modalities are in place, the distribution of seized rice will begin. We will provide regular updates to the public on the progress of the distribution.”

“In the meantime, we would like to remind everyone that smuggling is illegal and that those who engage in it are subject to serious penalties.”

“We urge everyone to support the government’s efforts to crack down on smuggling and ensure that only legal goods are brought into the country.”

Meanwhile, the area commander explained that the command had intercepted and seized fake drugs with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,739,000,000,00 (one billion, seven hundred and thirty-nine million naira) only for the 2024 fiscal year, along the Bakatari area of Omi-Adio, Ibadan.

Other seized goods include rice, vegetable oil, used clothing, used tyres, and more.

He said the seizure was a result of the command’s intensified efforts to curb smuggling and protect the health and safety of citizens.

Noting further, the Area Controller said the command has been an enforcement-oriented command that prioritises the fight against smuggling in all its operations.

He said NCS, through the area command, is aiming to alleviate the hardship presently experienced as a result of some economic saboteurs in the country.

“As for fake drugs, I want to stress again that our command will not tolerate anyone who is involved in smuggling or selling these dangerous products.”

“For the period of 19th January to February 2024, the command has intercepted and seized the following contraband goods, foreign parboiled rice 345 (50kg) bags, worth N24,218,000.00, Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, 344 (25 litres) kegs, worth N5,728,500.00, Indian Hemp, 4 wraps (4 Kilograms), worth N126, 000.00, Used tyres, 1309 pieces, worth N70, 140,000,00, used clothing and shoes, 45 sacks/, 8 sacks/9 sacks, bales, worth N32,400,000.00/N10, 320, 000,00.”

“Fake Pharmaceuticals, Augmentin Tablet, (625mg), 7 sacks, worth N819,000,000,00, Ampiclox, 22 sacks, worth N440,000,000,00, Amoxylin Capsules, 24 sacks, worth N480,000,000,00, foreign wine, 34 cartons, 5 bottles, worth, N6,231,206,00, foreign vegetable oil, 40 bottles (5 litres), worth, N1,760,000,00, 21 bottles (1 litre), worth N99,225,00, totaling N1,890,022,931.00.”

He, however, reiterated the command’s effort towards the fight against ongoing economic difficulties by supporting the federal government to enhance food security in the country.

“Once again, we would like to reiterate that all borders within the command area of responsibility are still closed due to federal government policy on border closure, and as such, command officers remain vigilant and dedicated to preventing the snuggling of items that could compromise the health and well-being of our citizens,” Oramalugo stated.

He finally warned importers of fake drugs to desist from such activities, as the service will continue to take stringent measures to prevent the entry of such products into the country.

Oramalugo also called on the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or persons involved in the trade of fake drugs, saying, “We cannot do this alone. We need the cooperation of the public to help us stamp out this dangerous trade.”

“If you have any information about those involved in the trade of fake drugs, please contact the NCS.”

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