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Stampede over rice: Nigeria Customs Service suspends distribution of products

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended its food disposal initiative following a stampede was during the distribution of 25kg bags of rice at its Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos State, which claimed seven lives on February 23,2024.

Penpushing reports that National Public Relations Officer, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Abdullahi Maiwada made this known in a statement explaining that the suspension was part of the service’s resolve to ensure the safety of Nigerians and to enable it to properly articulate its next line of action, in order not to defeat the vision of the initiative.

The customs spokesperson added that the bags of rice were out of stock during the pilot distribution, which led to heightened desperation among the crowd who became desperate and charged, stressing that in the process there was stampede

‘Unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome. The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers’, Maiwada wrote

‘In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded. Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024,” he said.

Penpushing also reports that Maiwada explained that an internal investigation had been initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate event, just as he stated that the service commiserated with the families of the deceased and assured them of its unwavering support.

The statement added that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is working with hospital authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families regarding their next steps.

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