Senate sets up ad-hoc committee to probe alleged abuse of firearms by Customs operatives - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Senate sets up ad-hoc committee to probe alleged abuse of firearms by Customs operatives

THE Senate has begun probe into the indiscriminate use of firearms by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) resulting in alleged killings of Nigerians in land borders and check points across the country. 

Consequently, the  Senate  has set up an eleven- member Ad-hoc Committee  to carry out a holistic  investigation into the matter

The Committee, which  has a retired Customs Officer, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, PDP-Osun East as Chairman, has six weeks to present report of its findings to the Senate.

Other members of the Committee include Senators Shuaibu Lau (PDP-Taraba) Kawu Sumaila (NNPP- Kano), Tony Nwoye (LP Anambra), Umar Sadiq,(APC-Kwara) Akpan Samson, (PDP-Akwa-Ibom) and Senator Solomon Adeola, (APC-Ogun) 

Others are Senator Abdulaziz Yar'adua (APC-Katsina),Olajide Emmanuel (APC-Ondo), Mohammed Muntari (APC-Katsina) and Napoleon Bali (PDP- Plateau)

Senate which condemned  the indiscriminate shooting by officers of the NCS on July 13. in Katsina State, urged  the NCS  to fish out the erring officers and investigate the incident that led to the custom operatives to open fire on unarmed civilians.

The Senate  has also called on the NCS to improve on the training of its personnel in handling of firearms, especially fire discipline when dealing with Nigerian citizens.

Resolutions  of the Senate  yesterday  were sequel  to a motion  titled" Urgent Need to Investigate  the Abuse of firearms by Officers of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Kastina  State. It was  sponsored by  Senator Abdulaziz Yar'adua(APC-Kastina).

Earlier in his presentation,  Senator Yar'adua who noted that  it remained  a fact  that  officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were  authorized to carry firearms  while discharging their duties, said that it   was  aimed at assisting the service to effectively counter activities of smugglers, who have recently become emboldened in their attack on customs personnel in many cases using sophisticated weapons.

He, however, expressed worry  that some officers of the NCS, who should be civil and professional in their engagements and handling of firearms have had a series of shootings of innocent citizens.

According to him  on August 14, 2021, the former Governor of Katsina state, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, threatened to sue the NCS over the killing of residents during border drills in the statem adding that  during same period, the House of Representatives invited the former Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hamid Ali (rtd) to appear before it to explain the circumstances leading to the unfortunate incident.

He said that  given the recurring killings of innocent people by customs operatives in Katsina, the House of Representatives on  Feb. 3, 2022 ordered the NCS to pay  N390 million as compensation to families of 10 victims that were killed and 13 others injured in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Yar'Adua said, "Further disturbed that on  July  13, , the Chief of Staff to the Katsina state. Governor Alhaji Jabiru Tsauri had a narrow escape from a harrowing assault from NCS officials.

"Worried that officers of the NCS at a location near Gorar Yammama highway shot indiscriminately at the vehicle conveying the Chief of Staff to the governor with other aides and close family members."

He expressed concerned that officials of the NCS were  yet to apprehend or arrest the erring officers or bring them to book for the unfortunate incident.

Senator Yar'adua also said in Sept 2021, personnel of the NCS shot at the convoy of former Katsina State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy,Alhaji Umar Gwajo-Gwajo while driving from Daura to Mia'adua Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Yar'adua further expressed worry  that the inability to checkmate the recurring abuse of firearms by officers of the NCS, might led to loss of innocent lives and possibly reprisal attacks by angered civilians.

In his contribution,  Senators Ahmed Lawan, Olamilekan 
Adeola, Abdulaziz Yari among others commended the sponsor for the motion and decried the alleged  killings of  Nigerians by the NCS.

Adeola, who noted that part of his constituents were resident in the border communities of  Ogun state decried the killings, said that the Senate must take the matter seriously, saying that the killings had become recurring.

However, Senator Francis Fadahunsi who noted that  the NCS in the last seven years has been militarised, while urging the new administration to begin the  de-militarisation of the NCS,  said that  his committee during the 8th Senate had raised the matter of militarization  of NCS officers, saying that their compliant was not considered.

In his remarks, the President of the  Senate, Senator  Godswill Akpiabio who noted that  the Senate must look at the issue holistically, given the submissions of lawmakers on the motionm said that the contributions by senators revealed that  people have been shot at different times, hence the need to holistically investigate  the matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment