The Nigeria Customs Service Service allayed fear of Nigerians over planned distribution of poisonous and expired rice to the public by the service, saying that only items certified fit for human consumption by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) shall be distributed.
Recall that the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) had in May 2019 warned Nigerians to stop eating foreign rice, saying that the rice are poisonous and not fit for human consumption.
Ali at a press briefing in Abuja said that imported rice is poisonous because before coming into the country, it must have spent a minimum of five years in the silos.
Following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Customs should release all the rice it had seized to the Nigerian populace to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus, concerns have been raised about the status of the seized rice.
But in a press statement yesterday, National Public Relations officer of Customs, Mr Joseph Attah assured that the Customs would carry out due diligence before distributing the items.
According to him, “It should be noted that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC will be released to the public”
According to him, items ready for distribution are;158 trailers or rice,
Vegetable oil (25l) 36,495kegs (30 trucks)
Palm oil 3,428 kegs (1 truck) Tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons (54 trucks) Spaghetti/Noodles 2,951ctns &1,253pkts (2trucks) Wrappers (Ankara) 828 bales (1truck) Lace fabric 2,300 Rolls (1 truck)
Estimated 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).
“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”
“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”