‘The Lagos Rice Stampede Was Not Caused By Customs’

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According to the Nigerian Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) was not to blame for the stampede that broke out in Lagos during the sale of discounted rice.

Following its discussions on the state of the nation in Abuja and the first quarter of 2024, the NCSCN issued this communiqué at the weekend, detailing its plan of action.

The NCSCN viewed with disapproval the incident that occurred on February 23, when President Bola Tinubu’s administration sought to alleviate the current economic crisis by distributing vital humanitarian aid through the NCS.
The council expressed its disappointment at the unexpected casualties that resulted from the government’s well-intentioned gesture in a bulletin signed by Blessing Akinlosotu, the executive director.

The council stated that the emergency meeting was called to address the current situation of the nation, major developments, and urgent national problems in line with its convention, processes, and obligations.
The NCS was merely doing its job when the council determined that the incident had to have been caused by the naira’s high and unpredictable exchange rate and all the problems that came with it.
The council continued by pointing to other factors as the cause of the nation’s present issues.

“The depreciation of the naira has led to a rise in the cost of living, with food inflation in particular skyrocketing as the day progresses.”Unemployment and an uptick in crime have been the sole outcomes of the ensuing decline in services and closure of factories.It was also noted that productivity is being impacted by the high cost of transportation.
‘’The decline in power supplies, which has impacted both residential and commercial operations, was noted by the council with disapproval.

”The council also noted the return of communal conflicts and violence, insurgencies, and abductions,” the statement read.
According to the communiqué, the NCS made the best move in terms of openness and responsibility by requiring payment for the reduced grains through Remita.Unfortunately, the payment was delayed owing to a weak network, which resulted in a loss of time and ultimately led to the choice to pay for the transaction in cash.

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‘’Additionally, it was disclosed that the Comptroller General ordered free distributions, which were successful, when he realized that the Cash Payment method was still sluggish and time was running out.
‘’But after he departed, the throng got rowdy and agitated since they could see the goods were running low; eventually, many of them broke over the security barriers and invaded the containers.
“As a result, there was a stampede and some people died from heat exhaustion,” the report said.

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