The Nigerian Senate Wednesday called for investigation into the reckless killings by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service across the country’s border communities.
This was sequel to a motion raised by Senator Abdulaziz Musa Yar’Adua representing Katsina Central.
The Senate expressed worries that some officers of the NCS who should be civil and professional in their engagements and handling of firearms have been involved in a series of shootings of innocent citizens.
Recall that on 14 August 2021, the former Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, threatened to sue the NCS over the killing of residents during border drills in the state. During this 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.
Also, on 13 July 2023, the Chief of Staff to the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Jabiru Tsauri, had a narrow escape from a harrowing assault from officers of the Nigeria Customs.
The Senate expressed serious concern that officials of the NCS are yet to apprehend or arrest the erring officers or bring them to book for the unfortunate incident.
Senator Yar’Adua noted that it was not always about smugglers as the Custom Service would claim, but trigger-happy officers who fire indiscriminately at innocent Nigerians who try to cross the borders. He said it was important that the Service trains its men on the use of firearms.
Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, representing Ogun West, said it had become necessary for the Service to put in place punitive measures to check activities of these officers.
He noted that his constituency, a border community, has suffered serious loss of lives and property due to the unprofessional conduct of the men of the Nigeria Customs Service.
In his submission, former Senate President Ahmad Lawan said there was also the need to subject some of the officers to psychiatric test before allowing them to handle firearms.
The Senate therefore urged the Nigeria Customs Service to fish out the erring officers and investigate the incident that led the Customs operatives to open fire on unarmed civilians.
The lawmakers also asked Customs to improve on the training of its personnel in handling of firearms, especially fire discipline when dealing with Nigerian citizens.