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Why we stopped selling rice for N10,000 in other states after Lagos – Customs boss

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Why we stopped selling rice for N10,000 in other states after Lagos – Customs boss

The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, said Customs had learnt lessons during the auctioning of seized food items in Lagos State, resulting in why the service susended the programme nationwide.

The Customs boss stated this on Tuesday while making a presentation at the resumption of the sectoral debate series organised by the House of Representatives.

According to him, President Bola Tinubu has directed the NCS to auction food items seized at the Nigerian borders on their way out of the country, to vulnerable Nigerians, noting that the implementation of the programme kicked off in Lagos, only to be stopped owing to “Some reasons.”

Adeniyi further said that imported seized foodstuff are to be sold to local markets nationwide on the orders of the President. He said, “Mr President has directed that we sell directly to needy Nigerians food items produced locally but which were seized.

This is one of the ways to address hunger and food scarcity we are facing. We have started this in Lagos.

“Also, the President has also directed that imported food items seized by the Nigeria Customs Service should be sold back to the local markets for resale to Nigerians.”

Fielding questions from lawmakers in a session presided over by Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, Adeniyi gave reasons why the programme was temporarily discontinued by the NCS.

“We started in Lagos, but you know what happened.

There was a stampede.

No matter the number of bags of rice you share or sell, it will not be enough.

“We have to focus on one place at a time. We will use the lessons we learnt in Lagos to coordinate this programme when we resume,” he said.

Adeniyi also informed the lawmakers that the Service arrested 120 trucks conveying smuggled grains out of the country.

“We arrested in two weeks about 120 trucks of food items going out of the country.

These are the food items Mr President has asked us to give back to the local markets where the arrests were made.

We believe this will drive down the price of food items in these places,” he added. Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, has said that food scarcity came too early this year, noting that “It often rears its head in May/June.

This is just as he blamed the food scarcity being experienced across the country on smuggling, flooding, the naira redesign policy and the COVID-19 pandemic which ravaged the world in 2019.

The minister, who stated this at the Sectoral Debate series on Tuesday, noted that the naira redesign policy implemented by the government of Muhammadu Buhari denied small-scale farmers access to cash to pay for their harvest towards the end of 2022 as well as pay for cultivation during the commencement of the wet season.

To address the challenges faced by farmers nationwide, Kyari assured Nigerians that President Tinubu has mandated the Ministry to make grains available both for cultivation and consumption.

“We have engaged the World Food Programme to help stabilize prices. We also asked them to assist our farmers to produce more food.

“But we want our farmers to take advantage of irrigation facilities to do all-season farming and the President has been very supportive of this,” he said.

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