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Tinubu orders customs to return seized food items to owners



President Bola Tinubu, has ordered the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to return food items seized at border areas to their rightful owners under the condition that the goods are sold domestically in the Nigerian market.

The Comptroller-General of the service, Adewale Adeniyi, made the president’s directive known at an engagement with border community residents in Kongolam and Mai’Adua stations in Katsina on Saturday.

He stated that President Tinubu had chosen to use his authority based on his magnanimous feelings towards Nigeria, rather than strictly adhering to the law.

“In doing so, he has directed that those food items that were going out of the country that have been seized in various border areas should be returned to the owners on the condition that those goods would be sold in the Nigerian markets.

“So, we will be monitoring you to know if there is a violation of this. Those food items will be returned, and it is a directive that we will pass them back into the Nigerian markets.”

He explained that, due to an urgent food crisis in Nigeria, the NCS will persist in implementing preventive actions against the exportation of food items to mitigate food shortage.

READ ALSO: Tinubu takes responsibility for economic hardship, reaffirms commitment to reforms

The Customs’ CG explained that an Export Prohibition Act currently prevents the exportation of foodstuffs like maize, millet, yam, beans, and sorghum, to reassess the law as the country reaches food self-sufficiency.

He added that the Nigeria Customs Service would continue to monitor to ensure that food that was produced in the country remains and is consumed by Nigerians to tame food inflation.

Adeniyi said: “We know that there are markets around our borders and we know that not all of them are targeted at taking goods across the borders. We will continue to monitor and ensure that food that is produced in Nigeria remains and is consumed in Nigeria.

“This is because we are in a period of National Emergency that has to do with food insufficiency and this is why we must collectively work together to assist the government to enforce the various laws that prohibit the exportation of food items at this time.

“There is an Export Prohibition Act which currently disallows the exportation of food items like maize, rice, beans, yam, millet and sorghum. Food security is very, very important. If our people are hungry, they can be lured into certain criminal activities.”

By Babajide Okeowo

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