The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and its board have been ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja to pay N5.5 billion in damages over the unlawful seizure of 90 containers of rice imported by a firm, Maggpiy Trading.
What went down:
- Maggpiy had claimed that the NCS invaded its premises in the Tinapa Free Trade Zone, Calabar on March 18, 2017, sealed up its warehouse containing about 90 air-tight containers of rice.
- Maggpiy Trading also claimed that despite sealing its warehouse, Customs officials also stole part of the seized rice, and detained 40 trucks without lawful justification for 120 days.
What this means: The NCS would most likely appeal the ruling. But a N5.5 billion payment from the Customs revenue projection of 937.28bn (which it is unlikely to meet anyway) would be a big hit.
Since the president Buhari-led administration has frowned on the importation of rice into Nigeria, the Nigerian Customs Service has gone above and beyond to enforce the directive while its members have also been illegally enriching their own pockets with illegal imports. T