By Yakubu Salisu, Kano
Contrary to speculations in some quarters in recent times that Customs Officers use seized items as they deem fit, the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Joseph Attah has described such speculations as false and that they were being made out of ignorance or with the intent of mischief.
According to him, some even mischievously impugned that such items seized by the Customs may have already been shared to cronies.
Attah, explained that in line with the provision of section 167(2) of CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004, seized items upon condemnation and forfeiture to the Federal Government by a competent court of jurisdiction are kept in government warehouses pending Government directive on its disposal.
He said Customs Officers are law abiding and disciplined as such, would not engage in any action that contravene the laws of the Service stressing that no law permits any Officer to divert seized items for personal use.
However, that in view of the hardship been experienced by the citizens as a result of the ongoing lockdown measures to curtail the wide spread of the coronavirus in the country, the Federal Government after careful consideration has directed the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ali (Rtd) to release some seized items as relief materials to boost the Federal Government continuous efforts to alleviate sufferings associated with the painful but necessary ongoing lockdown in some parts of the Country.
Items to be distributed include; 46,000 metric tons of rice (158 trailers),
Vegetable oil (25l) 36,495kegs, (30 trucks) 3,428 kegs of palm oil (1 truck),
Tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons (54 trucks).
Others are; 2,951ctns & 1,253pkts Spaghetti/Noodles (2trucks),
Wrappers (Ankara) 828 bales (1truck) as well as 2,300 Rolls Lace fabric (1 truck).
Estimated market value of the above items stands at, 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).
He however stressed that only edible items certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC will be released to the public.
Joseph Attah in a press statement on Tuesday further stated that 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.
That the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) remains committed to strictly adhering to all extant laws governing seized and overtime cargoes.
While 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.
He urged the officers and men to remain focused on Service delivery as 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.
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