Customs suspend rice sale as seven die in stampede

The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State on Friday.

The Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.

Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.

On Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.

Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.

When our correspondent visited the Customs office at Yaba on Monday, a mass of people, including the elderly, queued up in front of the gate to buy the rice.

It was also observed that despite spirited efforts by officers to assure the people that the service was out of stock, the crowd continued to grow.

Speaking with our correspondent at the scene, one of the intending buyers, identified as Toyin Oke-Owo, urged President Bola Tinubu to find a lasting solution to the economic hardship in the country.

She said, “I have been here since 8 am. They said there would be no rice again. I have not eaten anything since this morning. Help us to tell the President that we are hungry.

“They said they wouldn’t sell it because some people died here. They have been chasing us away with a cane. I am hungry. This morning, I soaked cassava flour for my child to drink as breakfast.”

Meanwhile, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”



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