Customs Suspends Sales of Seized Foodstuffs Following Tragic Lagos Stampede

In response to a fatal stampede at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in Lagos last Friday, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has temporarily halted the sales of seized food items nationwide. 

The announcement was made in a press statement signed by Abdullahi Maiwa, the agency’s spokesperson, on Monday.

The Customs initially declared its intention to dispose of seized food items on February 20, 2024, as a measure to alleviate the economic challenges and cost of living in the country. 

The first phase of the disposal took place at the Yaba office last Friday, where food items were distributed in collaboration with other security agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force.

Maiwada reported that the initial phase proceeded smoothly until unforeseen challenges arose. 

After running out of stock and announcing the continuation of the exercise the following day, a surge of desperation among the crowd led to a regrettable stampede. The incident resulted in fatalities and injuries.

Expressing condolences, Maiwada stated, “The Customs extends heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.” 

The Service is actively collaborating with health authorities to reach out to the victims’ families and determine the necessary steps moving forward.

In response to the tragic event, the Customs initiated an internal investigation to comprehend the circumstances surrounding the stampede. 

The agency announced on Monday the suspension of the disposal exercise until a thorough understanding of the incident on February 23, 2024, is established.

The statement read, “Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. 

This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention.”

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