From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Ogun State House of Assembly has called for the intervention of Governor Dapo Abiodun alongside members of the National Assembly from the state to address the killings of innocent residents in the border towns by officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
House Speaker Olakunle Oluomo made the call on Wednesday 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 officers has become a major issue which requires the immediate interventions of political leaders in the state and at the national level, cautioning that the state’s borders should not be turned to Bakassi [contentious border region between Cross River and Cameroon]. He called for a roundtable discussion by stakeholders to resolve the issue.
According to the Speaker, there is a need for the officers and men of the Customs to always adhere to the standard rules of engagement 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 Customs personnel who often engage in the indiscriminate killing of people under the guise of looking for smuggled goods, especially rice.
They reported that on December 22 and 26, Customs personnel 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, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYNC), led by its Chairman, Abdul-Jabar Ayelagbe, led a group of protesting youths against killings of innocent people by the men and officers of the Nigeria Customs and paid a solidarity visit to the Assembly.
He expressed the grievances of the protesting youths on the unlawful killing of law-abiding members of the border towns in Yewa, presenting their resolution on the act they described as ‘unacceptable and inhumane’ to 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 curbing the activities of smugglers.
He appealed to Governor 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 Ogun State House of Assembly at identifying with the youths, Ayelagbe assured that they would continue to be law-abiding and peaceful in the border communities but that government should intervene as a matter of urgency.
Responding, the Speaker stated that the Assembly had earlier passed resolutions calling for a stakeholders’ meeting with all concerned individuals and groups to put an end to Customs’ indiscriminate killings.
He added 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 Governor Abiodun for necessary actions.
Meanwhile, in continuation of the ongoing consideration of the Ogun State Audit Reports on Ministries, Department and Agencies, the Speaker has re-invited a former Managing Director of the State Property and Investment Company (OPIC), Barr Jide Odusolu, to appear before the House Committee on Public Account and Anti-Corruption led by Hon Musefiu Lamidi on the activities of OPIC under his leadership on the 21st January 2021 at 12 noon.