Customs Suspends Sale Of Seized Food Items Over Stampede

Customs Suspends Sale Of Seized Food Items Over Stampede

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended the sale of seized food items over a stampede that claimed lives at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State last Friday, February  23.

The agency had on February 20, 2024 said it would dispose seized food items to cushion the hardship and cost of living in the country. Last Friday, it began the  sale of the  food items at its Yaba office. However, there was a stampede that led to the death of some members of the public who stormed the venue to pick up bags of rice.

In a statement released today February 26, the spokesperson of NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, announced the suspension.

“We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise. This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press.

However, 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.

The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident”. The Service stated that it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps. Following the incident, the Service initiated an internal investigation to understand the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate event.

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention.”

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