The member representing Jibia/Kaita federal constituency, Sada Soli, Monday said the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have killed not less than 25 Jibia residents in the last three years.
Soli, who was with the Katsina governor Aminu Bello Masari to receive the customs delegation that came to the state over the recent killing of some Jibia residents by operatives of Customs Border Drill, said the Jibia people were presently not happy with the Customs.
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“We are not happy with the conduct of the operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service. In the course of three years, we have the records, the customs killed 25 people in Jibia, and this is the first time the killing is generating this interest,” he said.
Enough is enough — CSOs
On their part, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Katsina, represented by Dr Bashir Ruwan Godiya, said the CSOs in the state would no longer condone the attitude of the customs operatives in the state.
“There is no point whatsoever that somebody trained, interested and given the opportunity to protect lives, will turn into a killer of lives because of rice.
“No matter how much billions you can call that you generated for the government that a single life will be killed for that amount. Why and how on earth that your officer will continue to recklessly kill our people and this has been on for over two decades now,” Ruwan Godiya said.
Earlier, in his presentation, the leader of the delegation, Acting Assistant-Controller General (ACG) Uba Muhammad, said the delegation was in the state to commiserate with the government and people of the state as well as interact with the affected community to make an assessment of the incident and report back to the Controller General Customs for further action.
“As part of the condolence, the CGS has directed the delegation to interact with the host community, with the permission of the governor, the bereaved families with a view to reporting back our findings,” he said.
Compensate victims, prosecute culprits or we meet in court – Masari tells CGC
Meanwhile, Masari has told the delegation constituted by the Comptroller General of Customs over the Jibia incident that the victims must be adequately compensated and culprits prosecuted.
He said if that was not done, the state would have no other option than to seek legal redress in ensuring justice to the victims of the unfortunate incidence.
“Convey our message to your Comptroller General that our position is very clear that you must compensate those who lost their lives and those who sustained injury, prosecute those who did it. Failure to do that, we will take the necessary legal action. We may not succeed, but we will test it,” he said.
Masari who said he was only forced to receive the delegation in his office, told the delegation that the Nigerian Customs service was biased against Katsina people despite the massive contribution given by the indigenes of the state towards the development of the agency.
“I can’t understand why you are biased against Katsina people, especially under this present administration. The audacity of customs here in Katsina, my own official vehicle was once arrested here by the customs officers, with Coat of Arm and everything,” he said.
He maintained that in the distance of about forty kilometres from Katsina to Jibiya, there were 28 check points of the customs, saying they were not actually checkpoints but tall gates.
The governor recalled an incident when the operatives of the Nigerian customs were shooting sporadically in the Katsina city centre in the broad daylight, while bandits were killing people in the border communities.
He said the border drill as far as he was concerned is mightier than mighty as he once complained about it to the CGC but he said it is beyond his control.