By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives Tuesday mandated its committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the alleged shooting and killing of 5 indigenes of Iseyin Local Government of Oyo State.
The House also urged the Federal Government to review the rules of engagement of the Nigerian Customs Service as it related to arms usage.
It is also invited the Comptroller- General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to liaise with its Committee on Customs and Excise to ensure compensation for the affected families, prosecute the erring officers and make sure of adherence to the rule of customs officers not exceeding 40km from the borders.
The resolutions followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Hon. Shina Peller at the plenary.
Peller in his motion recalled that on Thursday, May 13, 202, “the Customs men, according to eyewitnesses were in pursuit of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) conveying bags of rice when they started shooting sporadically and in the process, five people were killed.”
He said “It was a sad day as the people were celebrating the EID-El-FITRI in the Oja- Oba area of the ancient town.
The lawmaker said the names of the victims were Oluwatobi, Timothy, Wasiu, Abdulazeez Abdullahi and Umar Abu.
“This act of the men of the Nigerian Customs Service shows total negligence, abuse of authority, gross misconduct, and disregard for human lives. The customs men are supposed to be about 40kms to the border town
“If these men had been properly cautioned and trained in the process of recruiting them, bearing in mind that they carry arms, these tragedies would have been avoided. Killings by Customs officers in the guise of pursuing smugglers are 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 Customs officers open fire on them? Must they pursue smugglers? These and many more questions need to be asked to forestall a future occurrence”, Peller said.
Adopting the motion, they gave the committee 6 weeks within which to Investigate the matter and report back to it for further legislative action.