Firearms: Senate indicts Customs Comptrollers in Ogun, Kaduna, Katsina - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Firearms: Senate indicts Customs Comptrollers in Ogun, Kaduna, Katsina

The Senate has indicted Comptrollers of Customs for jettisoning established rules of engagement in the handling of firearms especially along border towns in Idiroko, Ogun State, Kaduna and Katsina which has led to unfortunate loss of lives.

Those indicted include: Comptrollers of Area Commands in Kaduna, Katsina and Idiroko.

This was sequel to the adoption and consideration of a report submitted by the Senate Adhoc Committee on the Abuse of Forearms by Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service chaired by Senator Francis Fadahunsi.

In the report, which was earlier laid by Senator Fadahunsi, the Senate panel established that traders and non-traders are being compelled to obtain unofficial receipts before allowed passage with goods legitimately purchased. 

The panel equally established that the disbanded strike force of Federal Operation Unit of the Nigerian Customs shoot at innocent citizens , raid markets and chased smugglers into towns which always led to avoidable loss of lives. 

The Senate subsequently urged the Comptroller General of Customs  to investigate issuance of unofficial receipts at the nation's borders by some of his officers.

Fadahunsi while presenting the report, recommended that the Federal Government should lift the 20km ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities.

Part of the panel’s report as adopted by the Senate reads: “Federal Government should direct the Comptroller General of Customs and Heads of other security agencies to as a matter of national inclusion, reduce the multiple checkpoints mounted along the corridors of border communities.

“This will enable the free flow of goods, especially farm produce, in, around and out of these Communities to the main towns and around the markets in the border communities.

"The Comptroller General of Customs should investigate and review the alleged issuance of unofficial receipt to traders and non-traders in Jibia and Mai'adua, Katsina State by officials of Customs and other security agencies. 

“This act has caused untold hardship to people living in these communities, as moving of goods (farm produce) across major markets and even to Katsina town and other neighboring States is a herculean task.

"The Comptroller General of Customs should redeploy the Comptrollers of Kastina/Kaduna and Idiroko Area Commands, and appoint replacements who should establish a good community engagement programme. 

“This will create a healthy relationship, make the Customs realize its mandate without being insensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the Communities in the State.

"Federal Government should lift the 20km ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities. This policy is a threat to peaceful coexistence, a denial of the people to belong to the larger Nigeria society and a serious cause of hardship in these communities.

"Federal Government in making policies, should put into consideration the ancestral bond/relationship that exists between the border communities in Nigeria." 

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, had on July 20th, 2023, set up an adhoc committee to investigate allegations of abuse and human rights violations against of Customs Officers. 

His decision followed the adoption and consideration of a motion on the indiscriminate shooting by customs officials in Katsina State which led to the extra judicial killing of some citizens on July 13th. 

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