The House of Representatives has called for an urgent investigation into the recent killing of five indigenes of Iseyin in Oyo State by personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Shina Peller (APC-Oyo) on the floor of the House on Tuesday in Abuja.
Moving the motion of urgent public importance, Peller expressed displeasure over the killing of five of his constituents.
According to him, on May 13, operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service were in pursuit of a sport utility vehicle conveying bags of rice when they started shooting sporadically into the air.
He added that in the process, five people from his constituency were killed, adding that it was a sad day as the people were celebrating the Eid-el-Fitri in Oja- Oba area of the ancient town.
He gave the names of the victims as: Oluwatobi, Timothy, Wasiu, Abdulazeez Abdullahi and Umar Abu.
He said such act as exhibited by NCS men showed total negligence, abuse of authority, gross misconduct and disregard for human lives.
Peller said that the NCS men were supposed to be about 40km to the border town, adding that if they had been properly cautioned and trained the tragedy would have been avoided.
He said: “Killings by customs officers in the guise of pursuing smugglers is a recurring saga in the country and something must be done urgently to put an end to it.”
“Relevant questions must be asked: are bags of rice worth more than human lives? Even if they were smugglers, must the custom officers open fire on them?”
The House, however, mandated the committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the incident and report back to the House within two weeks for further legislative action.
The House also urged the Federal Government to review the rules of engagement of NCS as it relates to arms usage.
The House also asked that the Comptroller-General of Customs should liaise with the committee on Customs and Excise so as to ensure compensation for the affected families.
It added that the erring officers must be prosecuted and ensure adherence to the rule of customs officers not exceeding 40km from the borders.
Meanwhile, Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has donated one million naira to each family that lost their loved ones during the clash between officials of the Nigeria Customs Service and alleged smugglers.
Makinde made the donation on Tuesday in Iseyin, at the palace of Aseyin of Iseyin, Abdulganiy Adekunle, during his visit to the town.
The governor called for calm and promised to probe the matter.
He reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to complete various projects and also enhance the security architecture of the state.