Customs under fire over killings in Lagos, raids

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Bill for independent candidacy passes second reading in House

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Ndubuisi Orji and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to probe the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over the alleged killing of four  persons during a recent raid in Lagos. The probe will extend to other raids nation-wide.

The House set up an ad-hoc committee to do the job.

The committee is also expected to probe allegations of illegal raiding of markets, warehouses, diversion of impounded goods for personal use by Customs officials and any other alleged misdemeanour by the operatives. It has six weeks to report back to the House.

This is sequel to a motion moved by Hon. Olajide Olatubosun (APC, Oyo) at yesterday’s plenary on the “Urgent need to investigate alleged killing of four unarmed Nigerians in Lagos by personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).”

Olatubosun lamented the killing of the four persons during a recent raid by Customs officials in Lagos.

He said over the years, many Nigerians, who were going about their legitimate businesses had either been killed or maimed by overzealous Customs personnel. The legislator noted that unfortunately, efforts by bereaved families to hold the Service accountable for the actions of its officials had been futile.

Olatuboson said though the duties of the Customs should be restricted to the borders, seaports and airports, the Service had extended its operations beyond the areas of its core.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary, before putting the question to a vote, said because the motion is investigative in nature, there would be no need for debate on the issue.

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Meanwhile, a bill to alter the 1999 Constitution to provide for independent candidacy yesterday scaled through Second Reading in the House.

The bill, sponsored by Hon Edward Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), seeks to alter Sections 221, 225,65(B), 106(6),132 and 133 of the 1999 Constitution.

Leading debate on the bill, Pwajok said independent candidacy will give Nigerians seeking for elective office an opportunity to decide whether they want to belong to a political party or not.

“The time to show that we are a matured democracy is now and that will be by giving Nigerians the choice to decide whether they want to be political party members or not,” the legislator said.

The Speaker later referred the bill to the Special Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution.


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