Families of persons killed and brutalised by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) in Iseyin area of Oyo State have demanded compensation from the border security outfit.
The agency was asked to pay N4.5 billion as compensation for the families of the four persons killed and injured person in Iseyin, on Sallah Day.
The House of Representativesâ€™ Committee on Customs and Excise held its second investigative hearing in Abuja on Thursday, where the leadership of the NCS and families of the victims made claims and counterclaims over the killings.
The committee is investigating the incidents in Iseyin, Oyo State; Jibia, Katsina State; and Ibarapa, Oyo State.
Officers of the Federal Operations Unit of the NCS had allegedly killed five persons in Iseyin town during Eid-el-Fitri on May 13, 2021, while attempting to arrest smugglers and seize smuggled parboiled rice in two sports utility vehicles.
A lawyer, Olugbenga Akinlabi, who represented victims of the shootings demanded N4.5 billion in his presentation before the committee.
He said: â€śAccording to the information we had, some men of the Nigeria Customs were chasing some smugglers from the border town into the community, and Iseyin, being a community that is populated, people were coming from the prayer ground and there were indiscriminate shootings into the air by men of the Nigeria Customs.
â€śThey (families) are asking for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be identified and brought to book. They are asking for an apology. In respect of the deceased, they are asking for compensation to the tune of N1 billion for each family. And Muraina, who sustained gunshot injuries, is asking for N500 million; N4.5 billion for the dependents and the injured.â€ť
Three persons spoke on behalf of Igangan, Igbo Ora, Ayete and Tapa communities in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.They were Shittu Ololade, Olusegun Okedeji and Sarafa Olaoniye.
They demanded N100 million for Muritala Ajasa, and N95 million for Hassan Sulikufuli, who were killed in the incident.
The sum of N80 million each was also demanded for each of Sunday Oluwari and one Mr Zhulikifi, who were also killed.
Those who sustained injuries were Samod Olayode, Damilola Adeleke and Idris Lamidi, for whom N75 million each was demanded.
The lawmakers also grilled the Customs officers over an accident involving a NCS vehicle that led to the death of 10 persons and injuries of 20 others in Jibia, Katsina State.
It was a heated session as the lawmakers and Customs officers disagreed over the Iseyin and Ibarapa incidents, The PUNCH reports.
The lawmakers accused Customs of abuse of powers, while the officers said they had to defend themselves.
They denied killing anyone in Iseyin.
The Chairman of the Committee, Leke Abejide, said the hearing was not to witchhunt anybody, but to see how the issues could be resolved amicably in the interest of all parties.
Representing the Customs were the Deputy Comptroller General (Investigations), E. I. Edorhe; Acting Comptroller, FOU Zone A, H. K. Ejibunu; and Officer-in-Charge of the Iseyin base, Ali Biu, among others.
The lawmaker representing the Ibarapa North/Ibarapa Central Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Muraina Ajibola, asked that the customs officers directly involved in the shootings be brought before the panel.