As residents of Oke Odan township in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State mourned alleged killing of six persons by customs officers, while the community insist those shot were innocent, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) maintained that only two people died when its officers were attacked by smugglers.
The incident was said to occurred on Sunday May 1, 2016 around 6:30pm at Alakara Bus-Stop, Oke Odan while customs officials were chasing smugglers some suspected rice smugglers in a long convoy coming from Igolo, a border town between Nigeria and Benin Republic, and heading towards Sango in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.
But Customs Public Relations Officer in the state, Usman Abubakar, while confirming the incident, said two people lost their lives.
The coordinator of Yewa Connecting Minds (YCM) Prince Ekunola Gbenga Abraham in a statement said six innocent residents were shot in the process.
Also, in a telephone interview on Thursday, he noted that witnesses identified those killed as three children, a motor mechanic, panel-beater and a secondary school leaver, simply identified as Ade, saying that the community has continued to bear the brunt of such activities.
He noted that the killing of villagers was becoming one too many on the part of the customs who fire directly at villagers and later claim that the victims were shot at because they are smugglers to cover their tracks.
Abraham demanded that the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) should hand over the killer officer to the Police for peace to reign in the area.
“Enough is enough of this wanton killings. We want the Comptroller to hand over the killer to the police to investigate the matter.
Yewa Connecting Minds (YCM) condemned what it described as the desperate attempt to exonerate the real culprits behind the killing in the area, saying the development is alarming and criminally intended to shield the officials of Customs who committed the atrocities from justice.
He also alleged that some customs officers aid rice smuggling and collect bribes from perpetrators.
“I am appealing to our people go about their legitimate businesses without fear of disruption from any quarters. I also call on our member to remain calm in the face of provocation, we have confidence in the government and justice shall be done,” he stressed.
Abubakar said three of their officers sustained injuries during the attack by the smugglers, adding that three of their check-points were also burnt down.
“Two people have been confirmed dead. Our officers were attacked by smugglers on their way to Idi-Iroko office after seizing two vehicles loaded with rice at Ajilete.
“These smugglers carried guns, cutlasses, axe, broken bottles, and they stoned our officers with a view to recovering their vehicles with the contra-band.
“We had to call for reinforcement of Military and Police before we could escape from the smugglers, they burnt down three of our check-points.”