Families demand N4.5bn from Customs over extrajudicial killings 

nigeria customs

 

The families of the victims of the Eid-el-Fitri day shooting by men of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Iseyin, Oyo State, have demanded N4.5 billion as compensation.

The demand was contained in a petition presented to the House of Representatives Committee on Customs by Olugbenga Akinlabi on Wednesday at the hearing into the series of killings involving personnel of NCS.

In the petition, Akinlabi is demanding N1 billion each for the families of those who lost their lives, and N500 million for the victim who survived the attack.

The families are also asking for an apology from the NCS as well as the unmasking of the officers who perpetrated the act.

The committee, chaired by Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), is investigating killings in Jibia, Katsina State and Igangan and Iseyin in Oyo State.

At the commencement of the hearing by the committee, there was a mild controversy over the taking of oath, as the Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Elton Edorhe, refused to take an oath, stating that by virtue of his job, he had already taken oath.

“I cannot take oath twice, I am in uniform, there is no way I will take oath twice,” he said.

While making a presentation on behalf of the NCS, Umar Lawal, its counsel, denied the killings, stating that the petitioners have failed to provide death certificates.

“The totality of the allegations by the petitioner is bereft of evidence in the following sense. The petitioners allege that five persons were killed. Sir, the entirety of the petition and the attachment presented before you, there is nowhere a death certificate is attached.

“Secondly, there is no post-mortem report. I can vividly remember when an honourable put this question at the last meeting that was there a post-mortem report on the death of the alleged five victims? There was none before you sir.”

The committee chairman, however, ruled him out of order and accused him of misleading the committee.

“We have the report from the hospital. We have one of the victims here. So, don’t tell lies,” the chairman said.

Kehinde Ejibunu, the comptroller of Federal Operation Unit (FOU), Zone A, said “the matter was not without cause”.

He claimed that the people in the community attacked the men of the NCS in the course of taking over contraband items, adding that there was an attempt to disarm officers. He said the NCS had to call for reinforcement from the Nigerian Army base close by. 



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