The Customs has initiated a nationwide sale of seized items, with a bag of rice being auctioned at the price of N10,000.

During a press briefing held yesterday in Lagos to kickstart the sale of the food items, the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Bashir Adeniyi, emphasized that the initiative demonstrates the service’s continuous dedication to protecting food security and guaranteeing the accessibility of vital food items in the nation.

He mentioned that the NCS had received government approval to distribute the confiscated food items to deserving Nigerians at reduced prices. The intended beneficiaries are artisans, teachers, nurses, religious bodies, and other Nigerians.

“In recent months, the government has been addressing the challenges faced within our economy, particularly the lagged effects of insecurity and the current exchange rate issues.

“These challenges have exacerbated concerns about food security, leading to a concerning trend where food items are moving out massively to neighbouring countries.

“Some of the items include: Over 20,000 bags of assorted grains (rice, beans, maize, guinea corn, millet, soya beans, 2,500 cartons and 963 bags of dried fish. Others include: Dried pepper, tomatoes, cooking oil, maggi, macaroni, salt, sugar, garri. This trend is not sustainable as it puts pressure on our productive capacity and threatens our food security.

“One concerning trend noticed is the outflow of food items in huge quantities, posing a threat to our food security. It should be noted that the condition for the export of any item is only met upon fulfilling sufficiency internally.“In this regard, food items deemed not to fulfil these conditions are showing up in our interceptions made at the borders,” he stated.

Adeniyi emphasized that the customs officers will be diligently overseeing the entire supply chain to prevent any improper use or diversion of the food items. It was also mentioned that the service has implemented strict guidelines and eligibility requirements to guarantee that the items are allocated solely to individuals experiencing authentic need.