By Gladys Nweke
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has distributed some relief materials to orphanages and internally displaced persons (IDPs) using Onne Seaport in Rivers State in line with the presidential directives.
The beneficiaries were given bags of rice, cartons of groundnut oil, cartons of soap among others from the goods seized by the men and officers of the NCS which were allegedly smuggled into the country.
Speaking during the distribution, this is the mandate given to the Nigeria Customs Service by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman, Sub-committee on Distribution of Relief Materials to Orphanages and Internally Displaced Persons, Comptroller Yakubu Salihu, urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the items they had received.
Comptroller Salihu said, sequel to the presidential mandate given to the committee to distribute the relief materials to orphanages and IDPs, we are here to carryout this exercise.
”The beneficiaries that are qualified for this exercise are those going whom mishaps such as flooding, communal clashes etc now have proven cases of humanitarian emergencies.
”The items we are giving out are numerous which include: Rice, second-hand clothing, vegetable oil, school bags, rubber slippers, soaps etc.
”These are the items seized by the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service. You must be aware that one of our cardinal mandates is the suppression of smuggling activities. So these are items that are seized and condemned by competent courts.
”I cannot give you the number of beneficiaries for now because as you can see, the exercise is ongoing. We commenced distribution based on the quantum of items that are here.
”The mandate given to us is nationwide to identify these relief materials then distribute to those recognized beneficiaries so that it alleviate their sufferings.
”We have covered Zone A which is South-west in Nigeria Customs Service and the flag-off started in Lagos. After that, we went to Zone B which is North-west and some parts of North-central which comprises, Abuja, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Kwara and Kogi States respectively.
”Then after we were done with Zone B, we are now in Zone C. That is why we are here and it covers South-south and South-east respectively which comprises 11 states.
”So far so good; we started in Zone C with Calabar State and have covered it with Akwa-Ibom State. We also went to Abia, Imo States and from there we went to Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi State Commands. After those ones, we went to Edo and Delta State Commands which we covered and today by the special grace of God we are trying to conclude this exercise with Port Harcourt which is inside Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service structure which will cover Rivers and Bayelsa States respectively.”
Advising genuine beneficiaries of the distribution exercise to be patient, the National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, attributed some of the delays to the strike embarked upon by the maritime workers.
He said, “We, the committee have finished our work and have done the allocation. It has been written on the landing certificate, handed over to the OC Warehouse. But the items that the OC Warehouse will give you are in another terminal that is not here now to give to you.
”We also discovered that the maritime union workers are on strike. So, if you experienced delay, these are some of the reasons for the delay.”
One of the beneficiaries, Sister Ugun Felicia from Jesus Abandoned Charity Organization, Anambra State said, I received rice 20 bags, two gallons of groundnut oil, two cartons of tomatoes, two cartons of soap. “I thank the federal government for using this gesture to help the poor. God will bless them.”