Senate on Tuesday indicted the Comptrollers of Customs in Kaduna, Katsina and Ogun (Idiroko area) states for jettisoning rules of engagement in the use of firearms.
This was contained in a report by the Senate Adhoc Committee on Abuse of Firearms by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service which was presented during plenary by the chairman, Senator Francis Fadahunsi.
The committee probed the alleged abuse of fire arms by Customs officers at border towns in different parts of the country.
The report, which was adopted by the Senate, said traders and non-traders were allegedly forced to obtain unofficial receipts before they were allowed to pass with legitimate goods.
It also said the disbanded Strike Force of the Federal Operation Unit shot at innocent citizens, raided markets and chased smugglers into towns which always led to loss of lives.
The Senate therefore asked the Comptroller General of Customs to investigate issuance of unofficial receipts at the borders.
It also asked the Federal Government to lift the 20-kilometre ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities.
Part of the report read, “Federal Government should direct the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service and heads of other security agencies to, as a matter of national inclusion, reduce the multiple checkpoints mounted along the corridors of border communities.
“This will allow for free flow of goods, especially farm produce, in around and out of these communities to the main towns and around the markets in the border communities.
“The Comptroller General of NIS should investigate and review the alleged issuance of unofficial receipts to traders and non-traders in Jibia and Mai’adua, in Katsina State by officials of Customs and other security agencies.
“This act has caused untold hardship to people living in these communities, as moving of goods (farm produce) across major markets and even to Katsina town and other neighbouring states is a herculean task.
“The Comptroller General of NIS should redeploy the Comptrollers of Kastina/Kaduna and Idiroko (in Ogun State) Area commands and appoint replacements who should establish a good community engagement programme.
“This will create a healthy relationship, make the Customs realize its mandate without being insensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the communities in the state.
“The Federal Government should lift the 20 kilometre ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities.
“This policy is a threat to peaceful coexistence, a denial of the people to belong to the larger Nigeria society and a serious cause of hardship in these communities.
“The Federal Government in making policies, should put into consideration the ancestral bond/relationship that exists between the border communities in Nigeria.”