Senate probes firearms misuse, killings by Customs officials

Senate probes firearms misuse, killings by Customs officials
Godswill Akpabio

The Senate has berated the Nigeria Customs Service over the incessant killing and shootings of Nigerians, particularly those living in border communities.

The Senate particularly condemned the indiscriminate shooting by Customs officers in Katsina State on July 13.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, thereafter, set up an ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of abuse and human rights violations against the NCS.

The decision followed a motion moved by the senator representing Katsina Central, Abdulaziz Yar’Adua, calling on the Red Chambers to investigate the abuse of firearms by the Customs officers.

Yar’Adua, while presenting his motion, said some Customs officials had been found to be unprofessional in the handling of firearms, leading to needless loss of the lives of innocent citizens.

He claimed that some officers of the NCS on the Gorar Yammama highway in Katsina State shot indiscriminately at the vehicle conveying the Chief of Staff to the state Governor, Jabiru Tsauri, on July 13.

Yar’Adua added that some of the Customs officers also shot at the convoy of a former Katsina State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Umar Gwajo-Gwajo, while he was driving from Daura to Mia’Adua LGA around September 2021.

The lawmaker argued that the refusal of the authorities to check the abuse of firearms by officers of the NCS might lead to the loss of more innocent lives and possible reprisal by angered civilians.

He, therefore, asked the Senate to condemn the July 13 incident and fish out the officers that shot at the government convoys.

He also requested that the Senate should urge authorities of the NCS to improve on the training of personnel in handling firearms, especially fire discipline when dealing with Nigerian citizens.

During a debate on the motion, many of the senators supported it.

Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara West), in his remarks, claimed that over 10 of the supporters of former President Muhammadu Buhari have been killed by NCS officers in Zamfara State.

Yari said, “Most of the people that voted for us in 2015, have all been killed. I asked about the cause of their deaths and about 15 of them were killed by the men of the Customs Service.”

The Senate President, therefore, condemned the indiscriminate shootings and killings of people found in possession of bags of rice by officers of the NCS.

“The Senate condemns, in totality, the killings of civilians because of carrying one bag of rice. The lives that are lost are too numerous and we cannot allow it to continue. It is a serious issue that the senate looks into it,” Akpabio said.

The Senate then urged the NCS to fish out the erring officers and investigate the incident that led the Customs operatives to open fire on unarmed civilians.

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