One dies, others injured as customs smugglers clash in Ogun - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

One dies, others injured as customs smugglers clash in Ogun

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By Aremu Sosanya

Palpable fear has gripped residents of Ayetoro community, headquarters of Yewa North Local government area of Ogun State following clash with suspected smugglers and Special anti smuggling task force which left one person dead and many others injured.

It was gathered that the ugly incident which occurred on Tuesday morning had left the residents to flee the town following the house to house search for suspected smugglers by the combined team of the military personnel and the Customs men.

Salient Times gathered that One person, identified as Sola Soga was killed by stray bullet allegedly fired by an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service in Kikelomo area of Ayetoro, in Yewa North local government area of Ogun State.

It was gathered that men of Nigeria Customs Service stormed the area following a tip-off  of smuggling activities going on in some parts of the town.

"The NCS invaded the area with lorry loads of its men, they had loaded all the rice stocked in a warehouse in the area. But as they were about to leave the town, the owner of the warehouse approached them for a possible settlement, but in order to forestall possible attack,  an unknown custom man fired a shot to scare him away, which resulted in the death of Soga".

"The shooting elucidated a lot of resistance from the youths who barricaded all the roads leading to the town.

" It was then that the Customs men called for reinforcements from their men in other areas like Idiroko and stormed the town and started shooting sporadically into the air.

Also, a source also confirmed that the NCS personnel acted on tip-off that there were smuggled rice stocked in the area.

He said Soga was shot from a distance by a trigger-happy officer.

"The boy (Soga) was far from where the Customs officers were when one of them fired gun at him from long distance and the gun hit him in the chest. He died immediately."

"There was no smuggled rice in the car when the Customs personnel got to Ayetoro, but I believe that they acted on information.

The action of the Customs officers triggered protest in the town and they barricaded all roads that led to the town.

The NCS had to called for reinforcement from Idiroko and other areas in the command, as well as soldiers.

"The situation in Ayetoro is so tense now. As NCS officers and soldiers moved from house to house threatening residents to come out and be killed," the source said.

Apart from Soga that was killed, I can confirmed that bullets from the customs men hit several people as a boy not also far from the area was hit on his leg, he was carried to an unknown place for possible treatment by his friends.

"As I speak to you now, the whole town is in crisis and we need the intervention of government to call these custom men to order"

Meanwhile, authority of the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) has declared that it was hoodlums that attacked its personnel in Kikelomo area of Ayetoro, the headquarters of Yewa North local government area of Ogun State on Tuesday while carrying out their constitutional duty of anti-smuggling.

The Public Relations Officer of the FOU unit Zone A of the NCS, DSC Theophilus Duniya who disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said three Customs officers sustained various degrees of injuries while one person was hit by stray bullet during the attack.

The statement read, “At about 800 hours of Tuesday 22nd December, 2020, officers of FOU Zone ‘A’, while carrying out their statutory duty of enforcing anti-smuggling laws; acted on intelligence and intercepted six Ford buses laden with foreign parboiled rice at Kikelomo area of Ayetoro, Ogun State”.

“Upon the interception, some hoodlums who were armed by with dangerous weapons and charms while working in support of smugglers swiftly mobilize themselves and attacked our officers in their bid to prevent the seizure from being taken away”.

“Three Customs officers sustained various degrees of injuries from the attack. In the pandemonium that ensued, one person was hit by a bullet in the process of resistance. The wounded officers are currently receiving treatment at our medical facility while further investigation into bringing the perpetrators of the attack to book has commenced”.

 “The Acting Controller is very concerned about the loss of life and the serious injuries inflicted on the officers which was totally avoidable if only the youths were patriotic enough to know that the officers were just performing their lawful duties.  He also cautioned the youths to reject being used by economic saboteurs to confront operatives of the Service from carrying out their lawful duties”.

“Normalcy has since returned to the area through combined efforts of officers of the Service and the Nigerian Army. DC Usman Yahaya, while thanking the law abiding citizens for supporting our operations, also warned people with criminal intentions to immediately desist from such because officers/men of the Unit are well mobilized, backed up by the extant laws and shall remain resolute at enforcing the laws without fear of intimidation”.