Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has promised to compensate the families of those killed allegedly by operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service in Iseyin on Eid-el-Fitri day.
The governor made the promise yesterday at the Palace of the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdulganiyy Adekunle Salau, while on a campaign tour to the town ahead of Saturday’s local government elections in the state.
Makinde, who commiserated with the families of the deceased, noted that one of the reasons the incident could have happened was because the country is facing a hard time and people needed to feed themselves.
The governor said: “I greet everyone in this gathering today and, most importantly, the party members. I am here today for two major reasons. First, there is no way we would campaign in Iseyin and would not come to greet you (Aseyin) in the palace.
“The second reason has to do with those who died during the recent clash between Customs official and some of our people. Customs is a federal agency but we cannot extricate ourselves from their personnel, who are here with us in this state.
“Part of the reasons why something like that could have happened is that the country is facing hard times and people need to feed themselves. I consulted the state party chairman, Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha and also met with about five families involved in this issue.
“I prayed for them and assured them that God will comfort and stay with them. I equally gave them the assurance that such occurrence will not repeat itself.
“Therefore, I will like to urge some of us to support those who lost their family members to the occurrence. In my capacity as the governor of the state, I will give N1 million each to the families involved. I also want to promise that the government will send a delegation to engage with each family to know what we can do to stabilise them and we will definitely do what is possible.
“In the event that a thing like that happens afterward, there is a tendency that we might want to take laws into our hands, but I want to appeal to us not to do that. But rather believe in your government that we will always fight for you. We don’t want any further loss of life and we don’t also want destruction.”
Also yesterday, the House of Representatives called for the prosecution of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) officers, who allegedly killed five indigenes of Iseyin.
The House also urged the Federal Government to review the rules of engagement of the Customs Service as it relates to arms usage.
It also invited the Comptroller-General of Customs to liaise with the Committee on Customs and Excise to ensure compensation for the affected families, prosecute the erring officers and ensure adherence to the rule of customs officers not exceeding 40km from the borders.
The House mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the unrest caused by the incident and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions followed a motion of urgent public importance on “the need to investigate the unrest in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State caused by the killing of indigenes by men of the Nigerian Customs Service” by Hon Shina Peller yesterday.
The House said it was disturbed that the Customs men, according to witnesses, were in pursuit of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) conveying bags of rice when they started shooting sporadically and in the process five people were killed.
It said: “It was a sad day as the people were celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr in the Oja-Oba area of the ancient town. The names of the victims are Oluwatobi, Timothy, Wasiu, Abdulazeez Abdullahi and Umar Abu.”
The House said it was also disturbed that this act of the men of the Nigerian Customs Service showed total negligence, abuse of authority, gross misconduct, and disregard for human lives.
The House said the men of the Customs are supposed to be about 40km to the border town.