The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Customs to investigate the killing of five bystanders in Iseyin, Oyo State, by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The resolution was a sequel to a motion of urgent public importance moved by Shina Peller (APC, Oyo), on Tuesday.
PREMIUMTIMES had reported a shootout between customs officers and rice smugglers which resulted in the death of four last Thursday.
But Mr Peller, in his motion, said five bystanders were killed due to sporadic shooting by the men of the NCS.
The lawmaker, who represents Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa/Kajola federal constituency of Oyo State, expressed dismay at the conduct of the men of the NCS.
He said, “If these men had been properly cautioned and trained in the process of recruiting them, bearing in mind that they carry arms, these tragedies would have been avoided.
“Killings by custom 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.”
He added that “relevant questions that 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? Must they pursue smugglers? These and many more questions need to be asked to forestall a future occurrence.”
Mr Peller also prayed for the committee to summon the Controller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to commence the process of compensating the families of the victims.
However, Hassan Fulata (APC, Jigawa), moved an amendment that the committee should be allowed to conclude the investigation before talking about compensation.
The amendment was taken, and the committee was given two weeks to investigate the matter.
When the motion was put to vote by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the plenary session, it was passed.