Nigeria agency confirms deaths after rice stampede

BBC News

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confirmed Friday’s stampede at its rice selling point in Yaba, Lagos, which led to fatalities and injuries.

The agency was selling subsidised rice to ordinary Nigerians amid skyrocketing food prices across the country.

Last week the NCS had said it would distribute seized food items in its stores to tackle the current challenges of food security. The exercise began on Friday.

Rice that had been seized as a result of an import ban was being sold at 10,000 naira ($6, £5) for a 25kg bag and a large crowd turned up. Such a bag normally costs about 40,000 naira.

But things got out of hand after the organisers told the crowd to return the following day as they had ran out of stock.

“Unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome,” NCS said in a statement

It said the desperate crowd charged through the barricades in search of rice bags in the emptied containers.

“In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”

Meanwhile, families have been mourning those who died at the stampede.

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