Rice sales stampede: NCS finalizes humanitarian visits to victims’ families

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday concluded its humanitarian visits to the families of four victims of the stampede that occurred during one of its rice sales in Lagos.

A high-powered delegation, led by ACG Hammi Swomen, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone A, visited the families of those who died in the stampede during the distribution of palliative rice in February.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the delegation had on April 26, visited the families of Mrs Susan Odulaja and late Mrs Comfort Ajayi, on April 30.

NAN reports that Swomen sympathised with the bereaved on behalf of the Customs Comptroller General, Mr Bashir Adeniyi.

Commiserating with the deceased’s families, Swomen expressed similar condolences of  Adeniyi to the families.

“We came to pay condolence visit to the remaining two victims of government palliative rice sales and this is the second time of checking on their welfare.

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From third left, ; the Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, Lagos, ACG Hammi Swomen;Mrs Sarah Anyanwu, wife of the deceased Mr Eugene Anyanwu, Zonal Customs Doctor, Rolland Nwankwo, the Customs Zone ‘A’ PRO Mr Akininyene Edeminam, during return of the condolence visit by the family of the palliative rice victims to customs Zone ‘A’ Zonal office in Lagos.

“You remember the unfortunate incident that happened when customs got approval of President Bola Tinubu to support Nigerians by selling 25kg par boiled rice at a reduced price of N10, 000.

“Unfortunately, we had a stampede outside our premises that led to the incident.

“Right now, we have visited the four families that were affected.

“We are here on behalf of the Comptroller-General, Adeniyi, to continuously show our support to this family.

“We have been here before, this is our second time of coming and the deceased’s family has visited our office too,” Swomen said.

He said that the service was mindful of the effect of the loss, adding that customs had pledged to support the families of the victims continuously.

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Swomen said they decided to check on the families regularly to ease the trauma they were going through.

He assured that the Customs management would continue to engage in concrete terms with the families of the victims.

“Even after today, we will continue to keep in touch with them during this difficult time,” Swomen said.

According to Swomen, NCS is a responsible Nigerian government agency, and that in spite of the incident outside the service premises, the management is touched by the event.

Responding, Mr Onah Christopher, husband to late Mrs Mercy Christopher, expressed surprise seeing government reaching out and looking after his family.

“For customs to call and appreciate my family is a big surprise because it is not easy for me to care for the need of the children alone without my wife by my side.

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“This is the time I need her most after having the children together.

“My prayer to all customs officers is that what I experienced, the good Lord will wave it away from them.”

Mrs Sarah Anyanwu, wife of late Mr Eugene Anyanwu, commended the kind gesture extended to them by Nigeria Customs, for checking out on them.

Also, Michael Odulaja, husband of one of the deceased, commended the moral support given by the customs management.

Odulaja, in tears, recounted the vacuum his wife, late Susan Odulaja, had left for the family.

Mr Murphy Ajayi, the husband of another victim, commended the moral support and kindness of the customs management.

Ajayi said his late wife left a child behind and expressed surprise at the visit.

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