Femi Falana Urges Nigeria Customs Service to Compensate Stampede Victims’ Familie

Mr. 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 tragically lost their lives during a rice distribution stampede. The incident occurred on February 23, 2023, during a distribution exercise organized by the NCS at its Zonal Headquarters in Yaba, Lagos State.

In a statement, Falana expressed disappointment over the lack of acknowledgment and condolence from the NCS to the bereaved families. He criticized the NCS for attributing blame to the victims, citing their impatience, and emphasized that the NCS must take full responsibility for the negligence that led to the avoidable deaths.

Falana highlighted the disparity between the selling price of rice at the time (N77,000 per bag) and the subsidized price offered during the distribution (N10,000 per 25kg bag), which attracted a large crowd. He asserted that the NCS should have anticipated the crowd size and taken appropriate measures to prevent such a tragedy.

The human rights lawyer demanded that the NCS promptly identify and compensate the families of the deceased victims. He warned that failure to do so would result in 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 NCS to lift the suspension of the rice distribution and ensure that future distributions are conducted through local government councils to prevent similar stampedes. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety and proper planning to avoid further loss of life.


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