April 18, 2024

Falana Urges Customs to Compensate Families of Stampede Victims or Face Legal Action




Femi Falana, the Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), has issued a stern warning to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), urging them to compensate the families of the seven Nigerians who lost their lives during a stampede at a rice distribution event in Lagos. Failure to provide compensation, Falana stated, could lead to legal action against the Customs Service.


The tragic incident occurred on February 23, 2023, when the Nigeria Customs Service initiated the distribution of 25kg bags of rice to indigent Nigerian citizens at its Zonal Headquarters in Yaba, Lagos State. Regrettably, the event turned fatal as a stampede unfolded, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals.


In response to the incident, Falana issued a statement expressing disappointment that the Nigeria Customs Service had not taken the necessary steps to identify the bereaved families and offer condolences. He criticized the blame placed on the deceased individuals, emphasizing that the Customs Service bears full responsibility for the negligence that led to the avoidable deaths.


Falana highlighted the high demand for rice, with a 25kg bag selling for N77,000 at the time, and criticized the Customs Service for not anticipating the overwhelming response at its Zonal Headquarters. He stressed that the authorities must urgently identify the families of the deceased and provide adequate monetary compensation. Failure to heed this advice, Falana warned, would prompt legal action to enforce the fundamental right to life as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.


Furthermore, Falana urged the Nigeria Customs Service to promptly resume the distribution of the remaining bags of rice but through appropriate channels to avoid another stampede. He recommended involving local government councils and development areas in Lagos State and other states across the federation to ensure a more organized and secure distribution process.

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