Friday, September 30, 2022

Assembly to investigate Jigawa gas explosion caused by customs officers

A five-member fact-finding committee has been tasked to investigate the cause of the explosion and the extent of damage.

• September 20, 2022
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)

The Jigawa State House of Assembly has commenced an investigation into a gas explosion allegedly caused by some men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the Babura Local Government Area of the state.

The House had set up a five-member fact-finding committee to investigate the cause of the explosion and the extent of damage in the area.

The committee has Bala Hamza-Gada (APC/Kazaure) as the chairman and members representing Babura, Kanya, Miga, Kiyawa and Dutse constituencies as members.

At least 17 shops and five houses were damaged by the inferno at about 9:00 p.m. on September 12, after security operatives on stop-and-search in the area flagged down a truck conveying 25 gas cylinders.

The spokesmen of the Nigeria Security and Civil Corps (NSCDC), Adamu Shehu, and that of police in the state, Shiisu Lawan, had on September 13, confirmed the incident.

In their accounts, Messrs Shehu and Shiisu alleged that the truck driver refused to stop while being pursued by the operatives, resulting in one of the cylinders falling off the truck and catching fire immediately.

According to them, the vehicle was coming from Tinkim town in Magarya LGA of Niger Republic and was heading to Hadejia LGA of Jigawa.

However, during the committee’s visit to the scene, some of the victims alleged that the customs operatives shot at one of the gas cylinders, which caused the gas cylinders to explode.

“As you can see, this is a delegation from Jigawa House of Assembly that came to sympathise with the people of Babura as well as assess the level of damage caused by the recent gas which was suspected truck laden with gas cylinders.

“It was alleged that they (custom) shot at the cylinders, which led to the explosion that caused serious damage to property worth millions and injury to between 12 and 15 people,” the chairman said.

Mr Garba-Gada said that even though the NCS was entitled by the law to carry out their statutory duties, they should not do that at the detriment of people in the area.

He alleged that most border towns in the state suffered from the action of the NCS personnel.

“It is not Jigawa that borders Niger Republic. Most of our border towns suffer from this kind of incident.

“Just last week, there was a similar incident in Garki LGA when one of the NURTW members was brushed by stray bullets shot by custom men in the area while chasing suspected smugglers.

“As these incidents have been recurring, we are advising the customs men to do it with caution without posing serious danger to our people,” he said.

He added that the committee, after the investigation, would come up with a comprehensive report about the incident, with necessary proactive measures to be taken to avoid future occurrences. 

(NAN)

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