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ISEYIN 5: Reps to probe killings, as customs says it only killed 3 Smugglers

ISEYIN 5: Reps to probe killings, as customs says it only killed 3 Smugglers
Written by Maritime First
ISEYIN 5: Reps to probe killings, as customs says it only killed 3 Smugglers

Femi Gbajabiamila

In spite of Customs stupendous defence that it’s Operatives only killed three smugglers, rather than human beings, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, called for an urgent investigation into last week killing of five Iseyin indigenes in Oyo State, by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Also read:ISEYIN: Community blames Service, as Customs, smugglers’ clash leaves 5 dead

The Iseyin Community had protested last week that Customs Operatives pursuing smugglers ended up killing five, innocent Sallah merrymakers, against which Customs swiftly responded, saying it’s Operatives only killed three smugglers, following a futile attempt to abduct an officer.

The decision to scrutinise Customs assertion, followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Shina Peller (APC-Oyo) on the floor of the House today in Abuja. The lawmaker believe Customs lied!

Comptroller General of Customs HAMEED ALI

Moving the motion of urgent public importance, Peller expressed displeasure over the killing of five innocent members of his constituents.

According to him, on May 13, NCS men were in pursuit of a sport utility vehicle conveying bags of rice when they started shooting sporadically into the air.

He added that in the process, five people from his constituency were killed, adding that it was a sad day as the people were celebrating the Eid-el-Fitri in Oja- Oba area of the ancient town.

He gave the names of the victims as Oluwatobi, Timothy, Wasiu, Abdulazeez Abdullahi and Umar Abu.

He said such act as exhibited by NCS men showed total negligence, abuse of authority, gross misconduct and disregard for human lives.

Peller said that the NCS men were supposed to be about 40km to the border town, adding that if they had been properly cautioned and trained the tragedy would have been avoided.

Public Relations Officer of NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah

He said: “Killings by customs officers in the guise of pursuing smugglers is a recurring saga in the country and something must be done urgently to put an end to it.”

“Relevant questions must be asked: are bags of rice worth more than human lives? Even if they were smugglers, must the custom officers open fire on them?”

The House, however, mandated the committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the incident and report back to the House within two weeks for further legislative action.

The House also urged the Federal Government to review the rules of engagement of NCS as it relates to arms usage.

The House also asked that the Comptroller-General of Customs should liaise with the committee on Customs and Excise so as to ensure compensation for the affected families.

It added that the erring officers must be prosecuted and ensure adherence to the rule of customs officers not exceeding 40km from the borders.

A stakeholder who spoke on conditions of anonymity said since five persons were killed, and the Customs Service has owned up to three, the killer only needed to identify the three he killed, to Nigerians know the two that committed suicide!

 

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