Customs denies sharing expired rice to woo voters in Osun

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has refuted allegation that it is collaborating with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to distribute seized expired rice to the electorates in Osun State ahead of the August 9 gubernatorial election.

It would be recalled that the ruling party in the State, the All Progressive Congress (APC), recently accused the PDP of working with the management of Customs warehouse in Ikeja to induce voters with expired bags of rice.

But Customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi described the allegation as false and baseless.

He said “the fabricator of the allegation is ignorant of the workings of Customs” even as he explained that all seized items including rice go through judicial procedures adding that disposal of any seized item after forfeiture is done in accordance with the law.

Adeniyi said that the idea that the Customs Service of any nation could seize items from any member of the public who is in contravention of the law, and dispose same without recourse to the law is farfetched, and suggests that such a Customs Service does not operate in line with all of its local and international obligations.

While maintaining that the NCS does not have preference for one political party over another, Adeniyi advised the general public to disregard such allegation as it is only an attempt to drag the NCS into ‘political parties’ squabbles’.

The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been drawn to a rather spurious allegation opining the collaboration of the NCS with the PDP to distribute seized ‘expired rice’ to the electorates in Osun State, ostensibly to woo voters to the PDP.

“As a none partisan law enforcement agency, our initial reaction was to ignore and steer clear of this obvious political accusation but for the fact that some un- discerning members of the public may be misled by this baseless and uninformed fabrication, the Service deems it necessary to state as follows:

“That all seizures including rice go through judicial procedures.

“That after condemnation and forfeiture of a seized item, disposal is done in accordance with the law as prescribed by the Customs and Exercise Management Act (CEMA), 1958.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known that the Nigeria Customs Service has not and will not engage in any act that will suggest the preference of one political party over another. NCS maintains an open record regarding the confiscation and disposal of all seized items, rice inclusive, and this record can be verified by any interested individual or group.

“The Service prefers to remain focused on its challenging statutory role of working in the interest of the economic and security well-being of all Nigerians.”