By James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Pandemonium broke out in Osu town, in Obafemi Owode local government area of Ogun State on Wednesday morning when the Federal Operating Unit of Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) allegedly killed a middle aged man.
According to information, the men of the FOU of the NCS was pursuing some suspected smugglers when their vehicle hit one, Mumuni Juwon, a lotto operator, thereby killing him instantly.
It was also gathered that immediately the incident happened, the Customs personnel abandoned the victim and their vehicle and flee the scene, while their vehicle and the corpse was driven to the Federal Medical Center, Idi Aba, Abeokuta.
Speaking to Our Correspondent, a senior brother to the deceased, Muftau Mumuni, lamented that his younger brother was just coming from the Bank where he had gone to lodge money collected from the previous day sale when he was hit by a roughly driven customs men.
He lamented that immediately he was killed, they abandoned their vehicle and allowed the young man to die like that.
Also speaking, a legal practitioner, Ganiyu Kusimo condemned the killing, calling on government to check the excesses of the Customs men who killed innocent Nigerians on the pretext of carrying out their legal duties.
He lamented that the killing of Mumuni Juwon by the NCS was uncalled-for as he was sure that the Officers ought to exercise some restrains when they got to the town to avoid the unwarranted death.
“Imagine, the young man was killed in his prime, he had only two kids and a young wife with an aged mother, who will now care for those he left behind, I think government need to caution these people seriously”.
“If you give a man a mile, I can assure you that they will go extra mile, the rate of evil been perpetrated by these people are just too much, but with this, we will ensure that justice is done”.
When Our Correspondent contacted the Spokesperson of the Federal Operating Unit of the NCS, Peter Duniyan, he promised to get back to Our Correspondent when he had got the details of the incident.
Meanwhile, Ogun State House of Assembly has sought the immediate intervention of the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun alongside members of the National Assembly from the State on the need to address the incessant killings of innocent residents of the border towns in the State by officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo made the call, while responding to the presentations of the State lawmakers from Ogun West Senatorial District, including Honourables Adegoke Adeyanju representing Yewa North I, Bolanle Ajayi, Yewa South, Wahab Haruna, Yewa North II, Lamidi Musefiu, Ado-Odo/Ota II and Sikiratu Ajibola Ipokia/Idiroko during a plenary held at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Oluomo, noted that the killing of innocent people by the Customs personnel had become a major issue that required the immediate interventions of political leaders in the State and at national level, cautioning that the State borders should not be turned to Bakassi, saying that this calls for a roundtable discussion by all stakeholders to resolve the issue as the State could not afford to be in the news for the wrong reasons.
According to him, there was need for the men of the Customs to always adhere to the standard rules of engagements, so as to avoid the killing of innocent people in the State.
Earlier, in their presentations, the lawmakers lamented the invasion of communities and quarters in their constituencies by the men of customs, who often engaged in killing of people in the guise of looking for smuggled products, especially rice.
They said that last December, 22nd and 26th, the Customs men allegedly killed innocent people in Ayetoro and Oke-Ola in Ilaro, saying such invasions and killings had equally taken place at Ado-Odo township, Ejila-Awori, Joga, Oja-Odan and Ipokia-Idiroko amongst others.
In a related development, Youth under the auspices of the State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYNC) led by its Chairman, Comrade Abdul-Jabar Ayelagbe, led a group of protesting youth against killings of innocent people by the men and officers of the Nigeria customs and paid a solidarity visit to the Assembly, expressing their grievances on the unlawful killing of law-abiding members of the border towns in Yewa axis of the State, with a formal presentation of their resolution on the act they described as unacceptable and inhumane to Speaker Olakunle Oluomo.
Ayelagbe noted that it had become a daily occurrence in the border communities including Owode, Ilaro, Ayetoro, Ipokia/Idiroko and its axis for men of the Nigeria Customs Services to kill and injure innocent citizens unlawfully under the guise of checkmating the activities of smugglers, with a renewed appeal to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to engage necessary stakeholders including the federal government to come to the aid of residents of the area.
Acknowledging the efforts of the State Assembly at identifying with the pains of the youth, the Chairman assured that the youth would continue to be law-abiding and peaceful in their respective conducts in the border communities but government should intervene as a matter of urgency.
Responding, the Speaker, who identified with the youth, stated that the Assembly had earlier passed resolutions calling for a stakeholders’ meeting with concerned individuals and groups to put an end to customs’ incessant killing; adding that it would evolve more strategies to call the attention of the Federal Government through the representatives from the State in the two chambers of the National Assembly with an assurance that their communication would be transmitted to the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for necessary actions.