Return seized food items to owners, Tinubu orders Nigerian Customs

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to return food goods impounded at border villages to their owners under the condition that they be sold in Nigerian marketplaces.

Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General of Customs, said this in Katsina on Saturday during a meeting with inhabitants of border towns at the Kongolam and Mai’Adua border stations.

The Customs boss said Tinubu had decided to exercise his power not in accordance with the law, “but according to the feelings of magnanimity that he has for Nigeria”.

Adeniyi said: “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,” Adeniyi added.

He explained that Nigeria was in an emergency food situation, adding that the customs will continue to take proactive measures to tackle the exportation of food items to curb food insufficiency in the country.

The Customs boss said the nation has an Export Prohibition Act that proscribed the exportation of food items such as maize, millet, yam, beans, and sorghum, adding that the law would be reviewed when the nation is self-sufficient.

He added that the Nigeria Customs Service would continue to ensure that foods that are produced in the country remain and are 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 beams, yam, millet, and sorghum. Food security is very, very important. If our people are hungry, they can be lured into certain criminal activities,” he added.He, therefore, urged the residents of the border communities to assist the government in implementing the various rules that prohibit the export of food items and other essential commodities.

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