Reps demand probe into killing of 4 persons by Customs in Oyo
The House of Representatives has demanded investigation into the killing of four residents of Igangan, Igbo Ora, Ayete, Tapa in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State by men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Ajibola Muraina (PDP-Oyo) on the floor of the House on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that at about 8:00 p.m. on July 16, 2021, men of the NCS attacked Igangan, Igbo- Ora, Ayete, Tapa and other communities in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
He stated that this resulted in the death of four harmless and innocent residents, adding that the attackers were dressed in NCS and Nigeria Army uniforms.
He added that they also drove on high speed into the communities in a convoy of two Toyota Hilux and one Toyota Sienna bus.
He said that without provocation from the residents, the NCS shot sporadically in built-up areas and killed Muritala Ajasa, the Amotekun Commandant Igbo-Ora in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area (LGA).
He said they also killed two passers-by at Igangan and one person at Ayete, leaving several residents with life-threatening gunshot injuries.
He said on June 6, about 40 days before the attack, Igangan was invaded in the night by suspected bandits who reportedly killed 15 residents and razed the Oba’s palace and two petrol filling stations.
He added that they also destroyed property, worth millions of naira.
The lawmaker said that the Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr Theophilus Duniya, issued a press release admitting that the attack was a face-off between NCS men and suspected smugglers.
He said that the smugglers were resisting seizure of smuggled rice by allegedly inciting a mob to attack the customs men, which resulted in the shooting and eventual disarming of one of the smugglers.
He said that because of several similar conflicts with men of the NCS in the past, which had resulted in the death of innocent residents, leaders of the affected communities, had made several appeals to the service to reduce the number of patrols carried out by its men.
He added that this had proved futile as the service instead increased and intensified patrols despite the fact that the communities are more than 200 kilometres away from the closest border post.
He said that residents of the affected communities affirmed that the four people who were killed, as well as several others who sustained life-threatening injuries were not smugglers but ordinary residents carrying out their daily, legal activities.
He said that the service instead of being remorseful, continued to threaten residents of the affected communities and the public.
This, according to him, is under the guise of doing all it takes to suppress smuggling activities.
The House, however, observed a one-minute silence in honour of the deceased.
The House condemned the killings while it condoled the families and friends of all those who lost their lives in the crisis.
The House also mandated the Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the shootings with a view to ensuring that victims were adequately compensated.
It asked the committee to report within three weeks for further legislative action.