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Customs halt food distribution initiative

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By Mercy Kelani

Thorough planning was undertaken for the exercise to mitigate potential risks.

Due to a fatal stampede that occurred during National Identification Number (NIN) checks, the Nigeria Customs Service has decided to halt its food distribution program across the country, which originally started in Lagos. This incident has sparked concerns about the efficiency of such measures in maintaining order. Abdullahi Maiwada, the National Public Relations Officer of the Service, clarified that the distribution was meant to ease difficulties by giving out confiscated food items deemed safe for consumption.

Unfortunately, despite careful preparation, things took a tragic turn as the crowd, finishing all the supplies, grew restless for more, resulting in chaos and regrettable deaths. He stated that thorough planning was undertaken for the exercise to anticipate and mitigate any potential risks. Crowd control was managed with the help of Nigeria Police and military personnel as part of the safety protocols. In preparation for any potential hazards during the large exercise, they took proactive measures by providing a fully equipped medical team on site.

NIN verification system was unsuccessful in preventing the disorder.

This was done to prioritize the safety and health of all participants involved. Additionally, the Customs Service had integrated NIN verifications into the procedure to uphold fairness and prevent multiple benefits for the same individual. Despite this effort, the NIN verification system was unsuccessful in preventing the disorder that followed after the stock ran out. The comptroller apologized for the mishap and declared an internal inquiry to determine the cause of the stampede. Due to the unfortunate result, the Customs Service halted the distribution process until further details are known.

Also, this situation underscores the difficulties of relying on NIN checks for maintaining order, underscoring the necessity of a full examination of the distribution procedure.  Customs in Nigeria might consider different options to ensure safety and efficiency in their distribution efforts. Proposals for improving safety and organization during widespread distribution campaigns, like the one carried out by the Nigeria Customs Service, require exploring different strategies. One possibility is to incorporate technology, such as introducing digital registration systems, using QR codes for verification, or developing mobile apps for planning ahead of time. These approaches can simplify the distribution process and reduce the likelihood of problems and mishaps at the distribution location.

Trained individuals, crowd management specialists are vital for this task.

Ensuring crowd safety and order at big events is reliant on implementing smart crowd control tactics. Trained individuals like security personnel and crowd management specialists are vital for this task. Clear signage, designated entry and exit points, and organized queues are also key components for managing crowds effectively and keeping participants safe. Implementing a time-slot distribution strategy is a valuable option to manage crowd flow effectively. By dividing the distribution process into specific phases, it enhances organization and reduces overcrowding.

Additionally, proactive communication efforts before the event are essential to inform participants and ensure a seamless experience, preventing any chaos or uncertainty. Another important factor to take into account is the utilization of localized distribution centres. By strategically placing a network of smaller distribution points in various locations, the crowd is effectively spread out and the risk of overcrowding at one main venue is minimized. This decentralized strategy enhances convenience and diminishes the congestion of individuals in one specific area, resulting in a fairer distribution process.

Related Article: Customs Service Records Revenue Rise in 2023

A practical option is to package necessary items in advance for distribution. This method simplifies the process for participants by giving them ready-made kits, cutting down on time spent at distribution sites and lowering the risk of chaos. Monitoring technology, such as CCTV cameras and drones, can also be used to observe crowd behaviour in real-time. By identifying potential issues at an early stage, organizers can take proactive measures to prevent them from escalating further.

Related Link

Nigeria Customs Service: Website

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