The House of Representatives has ordered the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to pay N200 million to 10 persons killed by customs in Jibia, Katsina State.
The House also directed NCS to pay N160 million to eight persons killed in Oyo State.
The decision followed the adoption of the report of the House Committee on Customs and Excise that investigated the killings.
On Tuesday, the Committee of the Whole, chaired by Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, considered the report presented by the Chairman of the Committee on Customs and Excise, Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi).
In August 2021, a Hilux van of the Nigeria Customs Service rammed into people by a roadside in Jibia town of Katsina leaving scores dead.
Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) had moved a motion calling for an investigation into the accident.
According to Mr Soli, men of the NCS had the accident while chasing rice smugglers, although, the NSC, during the investigative hearing had claimed that the killings were a result of an accident and not due to the chasing of smugglers.
The Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Elton Edorhe, had said the agency took action immediately after the accident.
Mr Abejide’s report recommended N20 million to each family of the victims, in addition, N2 million each to 13 of them who sustained injuries.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the killings in Iseyin in Oyo State and the subsequent motion moved by Shina Peller (APC, Oyo) into the matter.
The House, sequel to the motion, resolved that the committee on customs should investigate the circumstances surrounding the killings.
At the hearing, Olugbenga Akinlabi, the lawyer to the victims, had demanded N4.5 billion as compensation.
Mr Akinlabi demanded N1 billion each for the families of those who lost their lives and N500 million for the victim who survived the attack.
Instead, the House awarded N80 million to the deceased and N2 million to the victim that survived.
Igangan, Tapa killings
In September, the House had resolved to investigate the Igangan killings following a motion moved by Muraina Ajibola (PDP, Oyo).
At the hearing, Kehinde Ejibunu, the comptroller of Federal Operation Unit (FOU), Zone A, said “the matter was not without cause”.
He claimed that the officers acted in self-defence.
However, just like the case of Iseyin, the lawmakers ordered N80 million compensation to the families of the deceased and N2 million to injured victim.
The House also resolved that:
-As constant conflict with communities is counterproductive and unsustainable the Nigeria Customs Service should aggressively deepen its engagement with traditional rulers, community stakeholders, host communities, relevant trade associations, local police networks, and local security outfits to prevent future loss of lives and property on all sides.
-The officers involved in the acts of killings of innocent Nigerians should be brought to book, prosecuted, and punished accordingly to serve as a deterrent to others.
“That provision should be made for procurement of ballistic vehicles (Bullet Proof), Bullet Proof Vests, and helmets urgently for Nigeria Customs Service to confront the daredevil smugglers attacking their officers at Border Stations whenever the smugglers opened fire on them. This would encourage Nigeria Customs Service to be able to curtail smuggling with fewer causalities on their side.”
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