Rice raiding: House moves to investigate Customs

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has called for an investigation of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Surveillance Operatives deployed at borders across the country.

The House also mandated the Committee on Customs and Excise to interface with the Management of the Service, with a view to determine whether its financial operations are in line with financial regulations.

Additionally, the committee was asked to investigate unwarranted killings perpetrated by Customs officials, which was arousing fear amongst the people.

Presenting the motion, Mr. Wole Diya (APC, Lagos) reminded the House that the Nigeria Customs Service was established as a revenue collection agency, with the responsibility of managing the nation’s borders and curtailing smuggling activities.

He also noted that the Customs Service derives its budgetary allocations from the Federal Government to train its personnel and procure necessary equipment for the performance of its statutory responsibilities.

According to him, “there are allegations that some corrupt officials of the Service aid and abet smuggling, especially those dealing with rice… at times raiding markets or mounting road blocks for the exercise, rather than preventing the smuggling of the products into the country, in the first place.”

The lawmaker also brought up incidents where Customs Officials were accused of shooting randomly at various borders throughout the country, under the guise of curtailing smuggling activities.

He went on to recall a specific incident, which occurred on the 17th of January 2018, where six customs officials in a patrol van killed a person at Abule-Egba, Lagos, while pursuing rice smugglers. He also mentioned an episode, which took place the following day in Lagos, when Customs operatives shot at a pregnant woman.

Mr. Diya went on to state the need for the Federal Government to revamp the Customs Service to allow for a more efficient and effective body that conforms to international best practices.

Ruling on the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara directed the Committee to turn in their report in eight weeks for further legislative action

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