– Meets Customs Operations Unit, GOC 81 Div in Lagos
-Succeeds in fast-tracking evacuation of 50 trailers of food and none food items for Borno IDP’s
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has succeeded in fast-tracking commencement in the evacuation of 50 trailers of food and none food items donated by the Nigeria Customs Service for distribution to internally displaced persons in Borno State with a view to preventing imminent food crisis.
The donation followed an initial visit to the Customs headquarters in Abuja by Governor Kashim Shettima during which the Governor met with the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali with an appeal for the customs to release contraband food and none food items seized from importers which the Customs had started distributing to other parts of the country. The Comptroller General had immediately approved Governor Shettima’s request with a condition that the Borno State Government provides transportation of the items from Lagos to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
In his determination to speed up the evacuation, Governor Kashim Shettima was at the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ikeja, capital of Lagos State where he met the Comptroller in charge of the Unit, Umar M. Dahiru with a strong demand for immediacy in the evacuation. The Comptroller acted swiftly and handed over 18,270 bags of 50 kilograms of rice, 195 bags of 25 kilograms of rice, 604 bags of 10 kilograms of rice; 3,102 jericans of 25 litres of vegetable oil;1,612, cartons of assorted vegetable oil and 120 pieces of 5 litres cans of vegetable oil. Other items include hundreds of wrappers, shaddas, shoes and used clothes all of which have started being transported from Lagos to Maiduguri following Governor Kashim Shettima’s directive and approval of funds for the transportation activities.
In order to guarantee the security of all the items, Governor Kashim Shettima was at headquarters of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Victoria Island, Lagos where he met with the General Officer Commanding the 81 Division, Major General I.H. Edet to request for soldiers to escort the 50 trucks from Lagos to Maiduguri in order to avert unforeseen breaches and other bottle necks associated with movement of goods on the highways.
Our correspondent reports that the evacuation has already began in batches with the activities so far going smoothly while Governor Kashim Shettima monitors to exercise with readiness to intervene whenever there are hitches.
It could be recalled that Governor Kashim Shettima was at the Army Headquarters in Abuja last week during which he met the Chief of Army Staff, lieutenant General Tukur Buratai to solicit military escort that will accompany the 50 trailers to evade interceptions on the road covering over 1,500 kilometers from Lagos to Maiduguri.
The visit followed an earlier visit by Governor Kashim Shettima to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Retired Col. Hameed Ali on a ‘Save-Our-Soul’ mission following recent increase of internally displaced persons which is fast resulting into likely food crisis. The influx is a result of recent successes by the Nigerian Military and Multi national armed forces who freed thousands of citizens that were hitherto trapped by insurgents in some local government areas in Borno State.
Governor Shettima was accompanied by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume representing Borno South; Senator Abubakar Kyari representing Borno North and Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai representing Borno Central as well as the Commissioner for Higher Education, Usman Jaha. The food and none food items were seized by the Customs from smugglers who acted against the Federal Government’s restrictions on importation of rice into Maiduguri. Before the Buhari Administration, seizures including food were auctioned or destroyed by the Nigerian Customs Service. The new C-G introduced distribution of seized items to vulnerable Nigerians as against auction and destructions.